Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Whisper : shhh....

Brand : Whisper

Company: P&G

Agency : Leo Burnett

The female personal hygiene market in India is in a nascent stage. The market size is estimated at around rs 425 crore , some say$44mn.

The market is dominated by 3-4 players P&G, Johnson & Johnson , Dabur and Gufic. The product comes under low penetration product types. Since Indian women are not used to such products, the penetration is low but potential is high taking into account the increasing literacy and media reach. The segment commands a high brand loyalty.

Majority of the category customers still use home solutions like clothes rather than use an expensive sanitary napkin.

However J&J created this category with the launch of Stayfree during the early 80's. The heavy media investment along with the J&J endorsement opened up a new category. Stayfree was undisputed leader  till the launch of Whisper.

Whisper was launched in 1989 and  now account for 42% share in the sanitary napkin market in India. The brand is positioned as a premium brand. 

During the early years of launch, P&G had two responsibilities 1. educate the ladies about the product 2. Promote the brand.

The marketing of Whisper is a classic case of Brand building .The initial ads were striking ones featuring mother talking about educating the daughter about using sanitary napkins

.The communication was very sensitively planned since this product is something that we Indians seldom discuss in public. The campaigns was successful in erasing the stigma attached with these kind

 of products. Napkins were positioned as a modern hygiene way of protecting your lifestyle even on " those days" the ads said..

P&G has brought out lot of variants in this product trying to expand and create some waves in the market which is otherwise a dull market. Whisper is now giving  stiff competition from Stayfree from J&J. Stayfree is the market leader in this category. It is credited with creating the sanitary market. But the success has made this brand complacent. 

Whisper changed the game by investing lot of money in brand building. It brought the category out of closet and added a sense of  premiumness into the category. 

 Now Stayfree is trying to corner whisper in the price. Whisper is now being forced to bring out less priced variants. Since the market is growing , at present there is lot of room to play around. Recent reports also suggest that the brands were able to penetrate rural market also.

The brands in this category face the issue of low penetration. The customers are still shy about discussing these products that creates lot of hinderance in the category growth. 

Picture/ad source : Afaqs