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Surf Excel's Facebook driven campaign 'Fulfill a Wish' aims to provide happiness to less-privileged children

With virus like spread of cause-related social media initiatives it's becoming very hard to determine which ones are successful and, the ultimate test, make a tangible difference.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Jan 16, 2013, 09.04 AM IST
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With virus like spread of cause-related social media initiatives it's becoming very hard to determine which ones are successful and, the ultimate test, make a tangible difference.
With virus like spread of cause-related social media initiatives it's becoming very hard to determine which ones are successful and, the ultimate test, make a tangible difference.
Imagine going to the Fontana di Trevi in Rome (the world-famous wishing fountain), flipping a coin into its gushing clear water and wishing for a meeting with Salman Khan.

Come on, surely some of us have done that or at least considered it, after that wish-package of health, wealth, wisdom and world domination of course. The good news is one need not travel all the way to the Eternal City to make a wish, after all.

With its latest purpose driven marketing initiative called 'Fulfill a Wish' Surf Excel called upon its surprisingly fairly large online population of fans and consumers (on Facebook the brand has over a million fans) to be genies for a day and be the ones to fulfill wishes for a change.

Consumers can go online and pick a wish made by a less-privileged child that they, as the more privileged lot of society, have the ability to grant. The Unilever detergent brand tied up with over 40,000 NGOs across the country via International Justice Mission (IJM) and India Guide Star, an online database of Indian NGOs.

Therefore they made the whole process as easy as a few clicks for consumers to add a notch on their good-deed-for-the-day belt. And yes, while some of the wishes stayed in the territory of cool pencil boxes and school bags or a burger from the houses of Ronald and Colonel Sanders, others thought really big, and as a spokesperson for the brand tells us the company is indeed trying to fulfill one child's wish to meet Chulbul Pandey, otherwise known as Salman Khan.

Now it may not be not be the world's largest wish granting organization like the US based Make-a-Wish Foundation, which gives children with fatal medical conditions the chance to realize a dream.

Nonetheless, with Fulfill a Wish the country's largest consumer goods company aims to provide happiness in a tiffin for children deprived of simple things like school supplies or warm clothing.

According to Priya Nair, vice president and category head, laundry, HUL, this campaign or initiative is just another expression of the brand's Dirt Is Good platform. "In advertising terms we show it as moments in which the child develops and grows. But if you have a great idea to begin with one can do more than merely translate it for other media; it is quite simply adaptable to any medium."

With virus like spread of cause-related social media initiatives it's becoming very hard to determine which ones are successful and, the ultimate test, make a tangible difference.
 

In order to make them truly effective, for starters these initiatives must be integral to business but not business led. According to Atul Hedge, CEO, Ignitee, a digital agency, at the moment most of the activities in this area are pseudo marketing campaigns and don't make any real impact.

"Today everybody is indulging in arm chair activism on social media. You Like something and you feel like you did something. But that's not the case. Just because you Like 20 or 30 pages doesn't mean you have made a difference."

Furthermore, often there's very poor engagement on the brand's part and the biggest challenge has been to stay interactive. Social media experts recommend more focused strategies for initiatives like Fulfill a Wish.

For instance, if Surf Excel's app has indeed received good response (over 300 wishes fulfilled, and counting) it would make sense to make it independent and transform the app into a separate community so it does not get lost in the larger brand community and has a longer life.

Or else what began with promise, good intentions and more than just three coins in a fountain will become just another checked box on the marketer's to-do list for the year, or worse still, it will become just another slide on the brand's social media activities. Now where's the fulfillment in that?

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