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Most Innovative Companies

Hindustan Unilever

The World's Most Innovative Companies 2016How do you advertise your products around the clock when nearly 200 million of your potential customers are without electricity for eight to ten hours a day? You use the one device that is always on: the mobile phone.

That's exactly what Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), the largest consumer goods company in India, did when it launched free mobile radio service Kan Khajura Tesan. Here's how it works: Users make a missed call to an 800 number and the number autodials them back, which is key because incoming calls are free. When they answer their phone, users receive more than 30 minutes of music, news, and even jokes--plus ads for HUL's products. The campaign reached 25.5% of the population in Bihar and Jharkhand within six months of its 2014 launch, and is now the biggest media channel in Bihar.

The service, which means "centipede station," has more than 40 million subscribers in Bihar, Jharkhand, MP, and Rajasthan--and they listen for an average of 22 minutes each month. For its trouble, the company took home two awards at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity, and global marketing intelligence outfit Warc named it the world’s best marketing campaign of 2015.

HUL will soon open the airwaves to ads from external advertisers, too.

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