TDU - TamRas


 TDU is a unique university that marries ancient wisdom with cutting edge research. They have created a water purification product for the people below the poverty line and rural India. It is based on the wisdom from ancient Ayurvedic texts that recommends the use copper to cleanse and fortify water. How do we launch this product and create a demand for it so mortality and morbidity related to water borne illnesses comes down.


Brand design: To craft the Brand and its creative manifestations based on an informed and considered assimilation of the Brand’s inherent and unique truth.

To choose the name based on this lens and other strategic objectives in a manner that builds consensus among the entire stake holder group.

To design the logo and set the overall design language illuminated by the personality of the Brand.

To integrate this into the packaging and the product related collateral.

Manufacturing demand: Campaign Design

In the existing water storage and consumption setting the link between water and illness is not clear and the need for a water filter is not really significant. Will people adopt this product at all? The cost is quite forbidding in this context.

The water filters that are flooding the market are riding on the design and perception of cutting edge science and technology. The language is of UV technology, RO etc.

How to design the product proposition and thereby a launch campaign to address these barriers and create demand.

Behaviour Change

This product would completely fail if compliance behavior was not met.

Behaviour 1: The normal user is used to instant water access. This product requires the water to be filled for 8 to 10 hours. How do we get the user to go through this waiting cycle for purification?

Behaviour 2: The product has to be cleaned every day before refill till the copper filament is shiny and bright. Else the copper develops a green film due to oxidization which can give a bad taste and cause throat irritation. The housewife needs to be motivated enough to clean and maintain the filter in addition to all her everyday chores.

Behaviour 3: The usual routine is to fill water in the morning from a water source and store it for use through the day. The ten hour waiting time makes this very tough. To create a behavior change in people’s pre-established routine scripts is extremely difficult.

How do we address the behavior change challenges?


Brand Design:  

There were a few things that were clearly unique about the product. Firstly the use of Copper as a purification and fortification mechanism. There are no other players in this space. All the competitors are in the UV/RO space.

One beautiful thing about the filter’s mechanism is that it not only purifies water since copper is a micro nutrient, it has the capacity to fortify the water. This means the water after treatment gains the power to help fight diabetes, increase RBC production, boost immunity etc. Which is why it is called a ‘Rasayana’ in Ayurveda i.e. a tonic capable of increasing longevity.

The name: TamRas

The name ‘TamRas’ was inspired from both these ideas. Tamra means copper in Sanskrit and Ras from the word ‘Rasayana’. The word ‘Ras’ also means the ‘essence’. The name is exotic, mystical and embodies the whole offering of the product. It also ensures that the prime mover’s link to copper is maintained right from the outset.

The Logo and design language:

The logo was designed to be emblematic and powerful. It features a drop of pure water radiating spokes of energy outwards almost like a sun. The rays are of a rich orange colour, which at source is derived from the colour palette of copper metal. This orange has been carefully picked to be bright, visible, energetic, healthful and happy.

It also has ten spokes to represent the 10 benefits and the 10 hours of recommended storage before use. The overall design language was active and welcoming and we took this across all material and films.

The Baseline: ‘More than just ‘safe’ water’.

The brand is a bit of a challenger. It is swimming against the tide of the category. While all or most products in the category take away things (at times both good and bad) from the water, here is a product that actually enriches the water. The baseline captures this idea repositioning ‘safe’ water which is the dominant narrative in the category as just a matter of hygiene. The tone – a bit tongue in cheek.

The Launch Campaign:

We created hoardings and other outdoor material that played up the differentiation of fortified water. Also the unique proposition that this is a product that marries the best of old world wisdom and cutting edge science.  

TamRas had the luxury of having partners on the ground. We created material to allow them to do a door to door outreach.

Behaviour change

The motivational levers for Behaviour Change – ‘Status’ motive with a twist.

We took inspiration from the BCD framework for behavior change to craft the screenplay and idea that was intended to create demand and kindle the motivation to adhere to the compliance behavior.  Over the course of our earlier behavior change campaigns like SuperAmma we had found great virtue in using one of the theory’s key ideas that our behaviors are more driven by emotional motivators rather than rational persuasions.

Often technological gizmos like TVs, mobile phones, motorbikes etc. are positioned as a status symbol to be acquired by the progressives in the village. However here since the product design and offering was almost seemingly anachronistic. The product doesn’t use electricity, has no electronic interface, and doesn’t use any ‘sciency’ lingo. Therefore we used the Status motive with a bit of creative latitude.

In a rural community there are many protagonists who hold clout over the villagers. They have an almost disproportionate amount of power and status within their surroundings. Especially over women who are even more so inherently disadvantaged in interpersonal relations in society. For example the village astrologer who advices the woman when her child falls sick, or the moneylender who lends money during a health crisis like a diarrhea or typhoid outbreak etc.

The film tells the charming and humorous story of an aspirational woman Meena who mysteriously seems to have switched the equation with all these power centers in the village.

Riding existing life scripts – Diurnal rhythms  

We asked people to fill TamRas with water overnight and use it from the morning through the day. This did two things – it addressed the non-immediate availability of water as the purification happened overnight while people slept. It therefore used the idle sleep time to create a supply of ‘immediate’ water access during the day when it was most needed. It also simplified the ten hour time required for the filter to cleanse the water and made it simple for comprehension and to follow. Most importantly it rides the diurnal rhythms of activity to ease behavior change.

Status and mimicking
once we established Meena as an aspirational figure and role model we used her in the film to tell people to wash the filament every day and all also follow the diurnal rhythms of water storage not because it was important for health but because it was the ‘Meena’ thing to do. The kind of things everybody would appreciate – ‘Arrey wah Meena!’

Reminders and nudges
the key behaviors and instructions were visually created as simple illustrations that were language neutral to aid memory and comprehension. It was drafted in as a sticker prominently above the tap to serve as reminder.


It was by design that we selected Applied Wonder (erstwhile Centre of Gravity) as creative partner for our drinking water project. The project involved working with people in remote villages and the masses. While the creative agency we select of course needed to be extremely talented, but it also had to have the sensitivity and sensibility to create collaterals that appealed to the target audience. Applied Wonder has more than met our requirements. Working with the creative team at Applied Wonder, led by Jay was an absolute delight, in our journey creating TamRas, the affordable drinking water purifier.

Jay strung together the entire set of creative collaterals for the promotion of TamRas including logo creation & branding. His story telling style, experience in what clicks in public health campaigns plus his immense talent and sense of humour brought to life characters in a charming, short animated film, called Arrey Wah Meena.

It is my pleasure recommending Jay and Parag from Applied Wonder to anyone who is serious about using communication as a means to touch lives.

Dr. Padma Venkat-Professor & Head, School of Integrative Health Sciences, TDU, Bangalore