Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Nycil: Soothing and Cooling

Brand: Nycil
Agency:Rediffusion DY&R

Brand Count :220

Nycil is the market leader in the Rs 100 crore prickly Heat Powder (PHP) market in India. This heritage brand has successfully adapted to the changing trends for more than 35 years.
Nycil was initially a drug manufactured by British Drug House for Foot and Bed sours.But later the brand metamorphosed to India's leading PHP brand. The brand changed hands to Glaxo and then to Heinz in 1995

Prickly Heat Powders are highly seasonal products and to manage a seasonal brand is a Brand Manager's nightmare. The typical season for PHP in India is during April-July.The php category is about 20% of the total talcum powder market.Nycil has a market share of over 40% in the PHP category. ( source: Superbrandsindia,org).
During the eighties and nineties the Nycil was generic to the category. The brand was promoted heavily using the cactus mnemonic and the scorching heat gave the additional push to the brand. The brand was able to capture the need of the market which was moving away from traditional methods of applying turmeric or sandalwood pastes.
The irritation caused by heat is felt heavily on kids .Hence Nycil effectively targeted the mother and the child and the brand was positioned as the most effective Prickly heat powder.The brand talked about prevention soothing and healing to fight Prickly heat. The ads featured mother and child effectively conveyed the message. The product was efficient also since using Nycil bought instant relief ( personal experience).
Nycil's success bought many competitors into this category. Brands like Shower to Shower ( J&J),Dermicool ( Paras)Boroplus(emami) Vaseline ( HLL) all tried their luck in the market but could not make a dent into Nycil's leadership position while it took some market away from Nycil.
Nycil is a brand that constantly evolves according to the changing market. in 1970 the famous mnemonic of Cactus gave way to Bramble. Thebrand came out with different fragrances. Later in 1990's the brand expanded the target market to include adults also. The packaging was changed in parity with the industry trends.The brand also tried to expand its usage by including the attributes of fragrance and antiperspirant. But for a consumer, Nycil remains as the PHP.

My point is that Nycil has never rested on its laurels. The brand kept track of the market and competition and never shied away from experimenting. The category is highly seasonal and the purchase is largely problem/need driven. Sometimes the customer will go for the brand that have the maximum share of mind and voice. For example high profile ads of Dermicool took away some of the market of Nycil .It takes lot of efforts to differentiate such niche brands. I havn't seen any celebrity endorsing prickly heat powders? For a change having a celebrity endorsing Nycil may work for the season ...Will it?I also think that it is the right time for this brand to take on "Freshness" platform in place of soothing because there is more value and moving space in taking on the Freshness platform while keeping the points of parity with PHP category. The brand can also come out with multiple campaigns aimed at different set of segments like Sales Executive, Kids, Working women, College students rather than sticking to one segments. The rationale is that since the brand is a seasonal one, expanding the segments will be a viable option.And since different segments have different consumer behaviour, multiple campaigns make more sense.
Summer is on right now and I am waiting for the ad war....


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