Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Great Horlicks Challenge


Brand : Horlicks

Agency :JWT

Company: GSK.


A 135 year old brand com constantly reinventing itself. A case of marketing common sense in action. Horlicks has long been the favorite health drink of India.
The brand commands 54% market share in Indian Health Drink industry which is valued at around Rs 1300 crore.

As always the brand which was successful was perceived to be a "boring brand" ( that is what the literature says). May be the reason was that there was no significant change in the look of the brand in terms of communication and packaging for a long period of time. So marketers who think that a brand has to constantly change itself inorder to maintain interest in the mind of the customers, were not at all impressed.

Then as usual , the competition increased. The major competitor "Complan" from Heinz stable began to experiment and create noise in the market. So the sleeping giant has to wake up.

Horlicks was positioning itself with nutrition. It had a strong nutritive association for very long period. GSK decided to extend this nutritive association and the communication was changed from "Great Family Nourisher to " pleasurable family nourisher". GSK began to introduce different
flavours ( choco,vanilla, elachi) trying to create excitement in the customers. The packaging has been changed to a much more colourful and funky bottle.
Lot of noise was made in the media with some meaningless blabbering " Apang Opang Japang" aimed at kids.

Then GSK thought about tapping the aged also. Horlicks lite was launched with lot of ad support featuring Boman Irani. Horlicks lite is a sugar free drink targeted at the health conscious /diabetic people. This is a good marketing move since this segment is fast growing and Horlicks have the advantage of a positive brand image.

The recent aggressive campaign of Horlicks features the new positioning " Now proven-Taller,stronger sharper" aims directly at Complan- which is now focusing on non drinkers.

The campaign is done in association with National Institute of Nutrition and features a " clinical trial" on 869 kids of age group 6-16 yrs. One group was given Horlicks while the other a placebo. The result is that the Horlicks group were more taller stronger and sharper than the control group.

Although there is a scope for controversy about this campaign, it is going to take a lot of work from Complan to counter the threat of Horlicks " new challenge"