Monday, December 08, 2008

Brand Update : Complan

Complan has never been an aggressive player compared to the market leader Horlicks . This explains the reason why such a powerful brand is languishing in a distant position of 15% market share compared to the 60 % share of Horlicks.

While Horlicks has been breaking new grounds with a series of variants aiming at the entire family segment, Complan was lying low all these years. The major happening for this brand in 2008 was the launch of the new flavor Kesari Badam . In the promotional front, the brand was in a low key mode continuing with the extension of its earlier campaign focusing on EXTRA growth.

Today's newspaper had a stunner ad from this brand. It was a front page solus advertisement in the Malayalam Daily with a direct comparative ad targeting Horlicks.

What was striking in that ad was that Complan has put a direct comparison with Horlicks by showing Horlicks brand on the ad and then comparing the various attributes. I have seen such explicit comparative ads in automobile sector . In most of the comparative ads, the name of competing brands will not be directly mentioned to avoid litigation. The ads will either use letters or dummies for comparison.

The ad copy asks the readers to chose between the " low cost health drink " and " Complete Growth " . Then the ad talks about why Complan is better than Horlicks by comparing both in the parameters like
Main Ingredients
Protien Content
protien Quality
Number of nutrients .

The ad also reinforces the new positioning " Grow Twice Faster ".

Complan is also running a TVC around the same theme. The TVC is almost a Cut- Copy of the Horlicks' earlier campaign of " Taller, Sharper, Stronger ". The ad shows the before-after results of two samples and claim that Complan users grow two times more than the non-users.

I was wondering why this sudden provocation. A google search indicated that Horlicks has been running a campaign digging at Complan's main attribute of ' 23 vital nutrients '. I have not seen that ad of Horlicks.

The ad spoke of the high price of Complan and was claiming that Horlicks had more than 23 nutrients but costs less than Complan.

Complan had challenged this in Mumbai High Court but the ruling was not in their favor. Hence the brand has taken the war into the public.

Price always have been the weak point of Complan. Those who has used this brand know that its good but was terribly expensive compared to the other highly advertised brands. More over the brand was a little confused regarding its positioning and communication. However, the current spat has bought some life into this brand. It will be interesting to see how Horlicks reacts to this direct attack.

Related Brand




  1. i am a student of bfa(applied arts).recently i was obsrving the ads in the tv for my project study.i was really shocked to see the ad by horlicks directly pointing negatively towards complan.i was wondering how u people kept quiet.later i saw ur tv ad with many women rushing into the school and giving confirmation about growth with complan.i dint feel it as a correct answer to horlicks ad.but today i saw the ad in newspaper and i was really impressed. it was an apt way of replying to horlicks....really good job.

  2. Anonymous11:14 AM

    The new horlicks ad shows complan pack in the other lady's shopping bag.. Thats the reason i believe complan had to get back to them..

  3. nice post....just 1 correction: Horlicks Market share as of Sep '08 is 49% and not 60% (fallen from 51% in Sep '07)....Complan Market share as of Sep'08 is 14% (increased from 11.5% in Sep '07). Hence the start of this Milk Food Beverage War by Horlicks and corresponding retaliation by Complan! (According to latest AC Nielsen data)

  4. Another minor observation. You've mentioned about Complan that "More over the brand was a little confused regarding its positioning and communication." I think that when it comes to positioning, Complan has been one of the most stable brand in consistently positioning itself as a growth enhancer, targetting mothers specifically (remember the 20 year old shahid kapoor "I'm a Complan Boy" ad, where shahid drives his mother around on a bicycle), unlike Horlicks, which has tried its luck with various parameters (taste, growth, freebies) across varied segments (mothers, kids, and now even toddlers)

  5. Anonymous4:17 PM

    Hi have been a regular follower of ur blog. Thanks to all your prompt updates. Meanwhile happened to come across the same article on complan. heres d link

  6. Nice write-up. As i was just about to write about these ads, myself, came across your blog. Definitely going to be very interesting to see Horlicks' pay back ad. I guess it would be more interesting to see if Boost and Bournvita follow them!

  7. There are 4 types of strategies and we see in horlicks ve complan an example of offensive strategiy.


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