Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Itch Guard : Complimenting Active Life

Brand : Itch Guard
Company : Paras Pharmaceuticals
Agency : Mudra

Brand Analysis Count : 287

Itch Guard is a niche brand, that too a highly successful niche brand. It comes from Paras Pharma which has specialized in making successful niche brands. Itch Guard brand is interesting for many reasons , primarily because it address a problem that consumers never speak about in public.
Itch Guard , as the name suggest is a specialist brand dealing with Intertrigo. Intertrigo is the medical term for itch caused due to sweat. The brand which was launched in 1998 is now a market leader in the anti-fungal itch creams.
The problem of sweat related itch has been there from time immemorial ( although I does not have data to prove this point). The itch can be caused by sweat retention, moisture in folds of the skin and also because of tight garments. The itch can case severe embarrassment and is often taken as an a sign of unhygienic lifestyle. This makes the problem very personal in nature and usually this issue is unspoken.
The customers usually retort to traditional methods for solution. The common methods include applying talcum powders, oil and prickly heat powders. For severe cases, people tend to go in for ethical medicines like Betnovate and Soframycin.
Paras wanted to tap this market with Itch Guard. Mudra was roped in to develop the launch strategy. The brand was developed on the consumer insight that " Respectable people do not scratch in front of others" . The brand knew that there was a need for a product that specializes on this problem because prickly heat powders or oil does not solve the problem.

The first campaign focused on the Sweat itch caused in the groin area of men. There were a series of campaign highlighting the efficacy of the product. The interesting factor in the campaign was that the brand was positioned as an upmarket brand. The campaign was wise enough to feature models which was famous and this promoted the brand above the likes of BTex . The brand also created a character ITCH . The website has won creative awards for best product sites. Itch Guard also uses the Cactus Mnemonic to reinforce the positioning.

The brand became an instant success. But success had its fair share of problems as well. A consumer research showed that Itch Guard was perceived to be a brand for " Serious " itches. That means that the brand was used by only those who suffered serious itches thus restricting the usage of the brand. And there was a concern that Itch Guard may be perceived as a brand for itches in Groin area . Hence the brand went for a repositioning strategy whereby separate campaigns were run for broadening the usage and also to make the brand appealing to non-serious sufferers of Itch.
The brand is currently positioned as one which complements active life. The brand takes two platforms . One focuses on the medicinal values of the product and the second one takes the lifestyle values. Use of Itch Guard helps the customer to avoid the Social Embarrassment and thus enables an active life.
Watch the commercial here : Itchguard

Itch Guard has successfully created a category for itself . For a customer, the brand has made his life a lot easier. The brand has also removed the taboo surrounding this problem . One of the success of the brand was that it was able to understand that itch related problems is more of a lifestyle issue rather than a hygiene issue. This insight has helped the brand to communicate to the customer in a more refined manner. This positioning has also helped the customer to purchase this brand without any embarrassment.

Itch Guard is a classic marketing story where a brand identifies a problem and successfully solves the problem. The brand also reminds marketers that even in this clutter, its possible to come up with successful brands if you listen to the customer.