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Product: Journeys

Exploring the oral healthcare customer journey in developing markets

Project design

  • Deep immersion ethnography
  • Photojournalism
  • Collaborative workshops

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Unilever had a foothold in a number of emerging markets for oral care, but lacked a real cultural understanding of oral hygiene rituals and, specifically, purchase behaviours. Packaging format seemed key to unlocking growth in these markets, but our client needed clear direction to be able to establish the right formats for the right environments.



BAMM conducted in-depth ethnography amongst lower income rural families in Nigeria, Philippines and India. A central part of the ethnography was to conduct shopping trips with each family, in order to understand how they manage and prioritise weekly spending on a very limited budget. 

To help get us get to the detail, we helped them to complete shopping diaries, as well as documenting a typical weekly shop with photo series that could then be easily compared across markets to bring to life the reality of their shopping behaviours.

Close observation of routines around brushing, storage and broader hygiene helped to complete a picture of their everyday needs when it comes to oral health products.


Findings from the research were presented in a workshop where the Unilever team were able to immerse themselves in the rich audiovisual outputs of the research, enabling them to understand the complete oral hygiene customer journey, from weekly budgeting to usage.