HUL Plays Three-in-One Card With ‘Haath, Munh Aur Bum’

These 3 swachh aadats are all it takes to prevent illness, “Haath, Munh Aur Bum, Bimari Hogi Kum”, goes the new HUL slogan for Swachh Aadat, Swachh Bharat

Brand communication works better when it directly talks to children. Studies have highlighted a direct correlation between the conviction power of children and a family’s decision-making process. Brands from consumer goods to luxury are striving towards effective ways of connecting with the youngest members of the family. The latest to join the bandwagon is Hindustan Unilever, India’s largest FMCG company. The brand’s new ad sounds like a kid’s poetry slam, but it plans to be far more impactful than that.

Hindustan Unilever has joined PM Modi’s ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’ with ‘Swachh Aadat, Swachh Bharat‘ initiative, with which it aims to promote health and hygiene to 75 million people via a mass media ad campaign. In an interview with ET, CEO Sanjiv Mehta recalled that a meeting of Modi and Global CEO Paul Polman earlier this year, galvanised the company’s latest initiative.

A catchy ad film has been conceptualized by Lowe Lintas, with a direct promotion of three of HUL’s hygiene products – Lifebuoy, Pureit and Domex.

The ad begins with a group of children going around spreading the message of ‘haath, munh aur bum’ to everyone around, thereby creating an element of curiosity in the villagers. All of them then complain to the elders about this new bad habit by the kids. The kids are lined up and told to explain what this weird new jingle is.

The kids then explain what ‘haath, munh aur bum’ really points towards – 3 hygienic habits or Swachh Aadatien to keep illnesses away. Haath stands for washing your hands with soap, Munh for drinking safe water and Bum for using a clean toilet to defecate. HUL showcases its handwashing liquid soap Lifebuoy, water purifier Pureit and toilet cleaner Domex for each of the three habits.

“Haath, Munh Aur Bum, Bimari Hogi Kum”, shout the kids at the end, while the brand runs the text message asking viewers to join the initiative.

The video has been promoted extensively on digital, with a Promoted Trend being run today on Twitter powered by the hashtag #HaathMunhBum. The video uploaded on HUL’s YouTube channel has clocked over 3.6 million views in 5 days.

Social sentiments seem to be mixed around the campaign. #HaathMunhBum is being interpreted for its literal meaning, part of it being intentional from the makers of the jingle. Someone called it an ‘original idea’ on Twitter, while another tweeted, “weird, bad video, HUL got it all wrong”. And a double entendre tweeted by a guy called #HaathMunhBum as the journey of an adolescent male.

An on-ground programme called ‘Swachh Basti’ is currently being piloted in Mumbai and Delhi to reach over 200,000 people by end 2015, in association with local municipal authorities. Swachh Basti aims to educate children and parents about clean habits, via skits, demos and engagement with key stakeholders like local doctors and support groups. Swachh Basti could be taken nationwide as early as March next year, ET reports.

#HaathMunhBum, a win-win-win combo

Children love anything that’s to do with ‘bum’. In that sense, the jingle is a brilliant one to capture the curiosity of little minds. Mobilizing children and enabling them as change makers in the society is a great way at driving home the message. I’m sure a lot of children are already hooked to the new jingle. Cool idea, no matter how adults look at it.

Lately, the FMCG major has been talking via kids. For its recent campaign this October, HUL got a little imaginary girl named ‘Chamki‘ to convince her mother to wash her hands with soap, to prevent infections. The ad film captured a real life experiment with to-be mother named Sangrahi, where her imagined daughter Chamki convinces her of the importance of handwashing. This was second in the series of HUL’s 2013 award-winning campaign for Lifebuoy ‘Help a Child Reach 5’.

With #HaathMunhBum, HUL also captures a larger territory. While ‘Help a child reach 5’ only promoted Lifebuoy, #HaathMunhBum has provided a big break for Pureit and Domex as well. A clever move when other FMCG giants are also leveraging our PM’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan.

On-ground activities and a catchy jingle could make for a strong mass movement, however, instilling these behavioral changes from the ground-up would require a ceaseless drive from the civic authorities too. HUL alone cannot bring about a significant change.