Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Hit : Quit India Movement with a Difference

Brand : Hit
Company : Godrej Sara Lee
Agency : Publicis

Brand Analysis Count : 301

Hit is a major brand in the Rs 900 crore home insecticide market in India. The home pesticide market can be divided into two segments : one that is used as repellents like cream ,coil, lotion ,liquidator etc which does not kill the insects and the other category is the Insect Killers which consists of aerosols, chalks, poison etc. Hit belongs to the insect killer category.

Godrej Sara Lee are considered as pioneers in creating and developing the home pesticide market in India.Brands like Goodknight, Jet, Banish ,Hit makes the company the industry leader.
Most of the marketing action takes place in the repellent segment where there is war between brand like Goodknight , Mortien, Allout etc.

Insect killer category is minuscule in size compared to the other segment. According to a report in Equity Master, the insect killer segment is only 15% of the total market. Hit is a major player in this segment especially in the aerosol category.
What is interesting about this brand is the effort that the company has put to develop the aerosol category and also to build this brand.
Hit was launched in 1991. The brand came with two variants : one for killing flying insects and another for killing cockroaches. The brand separated these two variants by using two different colors : one red and another black.
Hit was well received in the market but there was issues regarding the price. The aerosols were too expensive costing around Rs 120 for a pack. Consumers found it less value-for-money and this severely restricted the popularity of aerosols. Only large 350 ml cans were available which again inhibited customers from buying the product. The use of aerosols were restricted to households which had grave insect/cockraoch problems and other households managed with crude methods . Within the two variants, the Cockroach killer was more popular among households.

Hit was marketed heavily by Godrej Sara Lee. This brand is in a product category that is less glamorous. But Hit was promoted smartly by the company. The brand was giving an important promise of a "Pest Free Home " to the homemaker. The brand was essentially targeting the homemakers.

Hit started a series of ads with the theme of a smart homemaker killing all the cockroaches and making her home ' pest free' . The homemaker after killing the cockroaches said " Kyonki ye mera Khar hain " ( This is my house ! ) . That was a perfect tagline for a pesticide. The ads were very effective in positioning Hit at a place above the functional utility of the product.

Another interesting campaign showed the homemaker in a James Bond style chasing and killing cockroaches. The idea was communicated effectively and humorously by these campaigns. The consumer insight is very simple : We feel that pests are intruders. So when the house is infested with pests, we feel that our house is taken over by them and by killing them we take back OUR house.Unwelcomed guests/pests are not allowed.

Despite these campaigns , the category did not grew because of the higher price. Then came the price reduction. Along with the price reduction brand also came out with smaller cans of 250 ml .The price of Hit was dropped drastically . The brand launched smaller SKUs and when the price went below Rs 50 , customers began to look at this product category.

In 2007 Hit ran a very interesting commercial to announce the price cut. It talked about a QUIT INDIA Movement with a twist. The news-like commercial showed a Chinese news reporter reporting an insect invasion of China. Lakhs of insects invading the country. In the climax , it is shown that because of the price of Hit being reduced to Rs 49, insects from India are fleeing to neighboring countries.
Watch the ad here : Quit India

The ad is aimed at bringing the customers into the category of aerosol and thus developing this category as a preferred solution for the problem. The brand also has a cockroach- killing chalk which is highly popular solution for the cockroach menace .
Besides these campaigns, the brand also improved upon the product by introducing a unique applicator which can reach many places where the cockroaches hide.

Hit faces competition from Baygon brand from Bayer. Baygon is not as aggressive a marketer as Hit so not much problem in that front. But a threat is brewing in the form of some new brands that has hit the market. One brand is STOP and another is Quitmos. Stop is running a campaign in the visual media highlighting a major differentiating factor : Non Pesticidal.

As a consumer, I have a strong belief that all these pesticides are harmful to humans. Since it kills insects, some harm is done to us also. But the problem force us to take the risk of using such products. STOP promotes itself as a safe insect protector ( especially flying insects) . On a closer look at STOP reveals that it is not an insect killer but a repellent. I bought it because of its non- pesticidal property which I found a compelling reason to choose it over other aerosols. There is a possibility that such 'safe' aerosols can eat away the market share of the Hit Fly Killer variant.

However there is going to be a huge potential for brands like Hit because the insect menace is going to stay . Consumers like fast and effective solution of such menaces. Hit has rationalized the price making the category more affordable. The heavy investment that Godrej has made on this brand is definitely going to take this brand to new heights.