Colgate Palmolive Pvt. Ltd. India
By making basic oral care accessible to millions of rural masses, Colgate intended to positively influence its imagery.
The goal was to: Improve Colgate’s imagery as a ‘Brand I Trust’ , 'an expert in oral care', 'brand recommended by dentists', 'top of mind awareness' and 'purchase intent' by +10% points each.
In rural India, it is rare to find or get access to a professional dentist. With just 1 dentist being available for 50,000 people, most rural Indians never get to visit a professional dentist in their entire lifetime. They depend on street side quacks with rusty implements and dodgy credentials.
Lack of professional advice, coupled with poor oral hygiene, and non-adoption of simple preventive habits causes millions to suffer from easily-preventable tooth loss and dental diseases.
While 90% oral diseases are preventable with the right care and hygiene, most rural Indians have no access to any reliable dental advice. Many are illiterate. However, 80% of households have access to a basic mobile phone.
From this dichotomy was born - ‘Pocket Dentist’ – a unique mobile based technology innovation to automate professional oral care advice, and make it accessible on-demand from every mobile phone, in real time. It was born from marrying insights on rural communities’ oral health challenges and their growing access to media, particularly the mobile phone.
While 90% oral diseases are preventable with the right care and hygiene, most rural Indians have no access to any reliable dental advice. Limited literacy rate even aggravates the situation.
As a responsible brand, Colgate was committed to changing this by making basic oral care accessible to the most deprived sections of the society and in the process instill trust among millions of rural masses which could positively influence its imagery.
The challenge was to create a viable, sustainable program that could reach rural communities in the deep interior.
Pocket Dentist’ was built on a voice-based platform to provide access to the greatest possible number of users. Voice technology avoids data dependency and gives the illiterate equal access to advice. It uses the already popular “Missed call” practice in India to deliver the service for free. Callers dial the service and hang-up. ‘Pocket Dentist’ calls back and prompts the callers to describe their oral care problem.
Voice recognition technology scans the call for key words in multiple accents and dialects of Hindi. These key words are used to identify the individual’s problem from 30 common oral health concern areas, and deliver the best advice for individual’s oral health problem, in real time. For less common queries, callers are connected to an actual professional dentist - usually the first one the caller has ever spoken to.
Villagers learn about Pocket Dentist from hand-painted murals, mobile voice ads, or community health workers.