Friday, September 08, 2006

Harpic : Ready For The Challenge?

Brand : Harpic
Company: Reckitt Benckiser
Agency: Euro RSCG

Brand count : 123

Harpic is the market leader in the small category of toilet cleaner segment in India. With a commanding market share of 80%, Harpic is a brand that withstood or escaped unhurt the lazy marketing efforts from its owners.

Harpic is a European brand that came to India way back in 1950s. Toilet cleaning market is traditionally dominated by the unbranded Phenols and when considering phenols, the market is worth Rs 500 crore. But the branded toilet cleaner market is minuscule estimated to be around Rs 50 crore.
Harpic unlike other Reckitt brands were given some marketing support from the brand owners. The brand had changed with times and had some careful innovation with regard to the packaging. During 1990's the product came out with a unique nozzle which ensured better reach. Harpic also introduced a Flushomatic variant in line with the changing preference of consumers towards European closets and Flushes. Harpic also initiated a co branding initiative with Parryware to get into consumer mindset early even when he is completing his house.

These efforts together with the lack of competition enabled Harpic command a major share in the segment. But of late the segment is witnessing competion. The major competition is from Sanifresh from Balsara. The challenge of Harpic is to get into the households that are using the cheap Phenol products. The venture of Reckitt with a phenol product bombed in the market.
Harpic is positioned along its triple benefit Stain removing, freshness and germfree. The ads which are criticised for lack of creativity speaks about the Harpic challenge. Celebrity like Aman varma entering a house and cleaning the toilet was rated as the most distasteful ads. But my personal opinion is that the ad conveys the core message. It is a no nonsense ad and is targetted towards the households using phenols and not the educated sophisticated users.
The innovative flushmatic variant was well received in the market But personally I find it difficult to open the flush and place it. Some flushes need screw drivers to open it. But it was a innovative effort that has to be appreciated.
Harpic is a brand that has been trying to break the segment barrier. It is still considered the urban product. In a lighter sense : with millions of toilets around, the potential is immense. I am not sure whether small sachets for single use will work for toilet cleaners ?

May be to break the price barrier, Harpic may have to think out of closet.

Source: India today, agencyfaqs, economictimes,magindia