Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Moti Soap : RIP

Brand : Moti
Company : HUL

Brand Analysis Count : 341

Moti was India's premium brand of soaps during the seventies. Now there is no trace of this brand. Moti originally was a brand of Tata Oil Mills Company ( TOMCO). In 1993, TOMCO merged with HLL.

Moti was a special soap which had certain differentiation. The first differentiation point was the Shape. Unlike other soaps which came in cake form, Moti was round soap. Moti is the vernacular term for Pearl . So the soap was also in the shape of pearl.

Another uniqueness was the size of the soap. Moti was a big soap. Often one gets bored of the soap and it never quite finish fast.

Moti came in popular fragrances like Gulab ( Rose) and Sandal.

Moti was promoted as a premium soap . The soap was expensive and during the eighties, the soap was priced around Rs 25.

Tomco also promoted this brand heavily. Most of the campaign had a signature brand imagery the soap surrounded by pearls. Those ads were in most of the magazines during the peak stage of this brand. Pearls formed an important role in the entire brand communication and pearl was an anchor which created an association with the brand in the consumer's mind.

I was searching for an ad of Moti and thanks to Saumyadip's blog, I got a vintage ad of moti.

Moti then moved to HLL following the merger. That marked the end of this brand.
I am not sure why HLL decided to sideline Moti soap. The brand was never promoted and slowly the brand faded into oblivion.
The reason for this brand's death may be because it did not fit into the brand portfolio of HLL. While Hamam ( another Tomco brand ) thrived, Moti was never in the picture.
Then with the Power Brand strategy, brands like Moti never had a chance to survive.

The brand had prospects if HLL had done some serious product development. In the branding perspective Moti had certain assets. The name and the imagery were wonderful assets for a marketer. Moti had both these assets.

The problem was with the product. There was something missing in the soap which ultimately lead to the death of this brand. Another factor was at the segmentation side. Now also the market for a premium soap is abysmally low in India. Now also there is no successful premium brand of soaps in India ( Essenza de wills is trying hard ).

So it was also a tough choice for HLL. The company may have felt that Moti did not have a future as a premium soap. And it may cannibalize some existing brands if the prices are rationalized. Moti may had to be repositioned if it had to survive . But HLL was not prepared to invest in a brand which had a minuscule 2% of the market. So the decision was to slowly kill the brand.