Monday, January 02, 2006

Pears : Pure and Gentle

Brand : Pears
Company : HLL
Agency : Mcann Erickson

Pears is one of the oldest soap brand in the world. Launched in India in 1902, the brand commands a unique position in the mind of the people. There is still virtually no competition for the brand in its segment.
Pears is unique from other ordinary soaps in that the glycerin is retained in the soap. Pears is famous for the transparency and company shows it as the sign of purity. The soap is mellowed under controlled condition and is individually polished and packed in cartons. The traditional Pears is amber coloured and there are two variants.

Pears originally was born in London in 1789. The makers of the soap were A&F Pears London owned by Andrew Pears and Thomas J Barratt( who is considered by some as a pioneer of advertising). They developed the 3 point strategy in promoting pears 1. Spot the gap in the market 2.Develop the product to fill the gap 3. Convince as many to buy the product. These three points are still valid in contemporary marketing. Even during that period, the product was promoted by smart advertising. The makers, co-opting with John Everett 's painting "Bubbles", blurred lines between ads and Art. They even came out with controversial ads at that time to promote the brand.

In 1917 Levers acquired the brand. In India Pears targets the premium segment of the market. Although the brand has a legacy, it is lagging behind Dettol in the category with a market share of around 4-5% in the segment and less than 1% in the overall soap market.
HLL has tried to strengthen the brand with two variants : Blue for Germ fighting and Green for Oil Control.
Of late , the brand is facing competition from Doy Aloe vera which offers similar quality at a reasonable price.
Hll has always supported the brand with careful advertising. The brand is promoted with the positoning as a Pure and Gentle soap. The transparency of the soap acts as the visual cue for purity and the glycerin content as the sign for gentleness. Pears commercials highlight the virtue of the soap using Mother and Child as the central theme . "Pears Mother" is used as the central character to appeal to the emotions of the target market.
Although this brand has been carefully nurtured, the brand remains a niche player in the soap segment.