Friday, October 12, 2012

Brand Update : Axe Extends to Soaps

Axe deo , the market leader in the Rs 1000 crore Indian deo market has extended itself to soaps. In the typical Unilever style of experimenting with successful brands the current guinea pig brand is Axe. The rationale is very simple  a) The soap market is witnessing a growth while deo market is now full of competition
b) With Cinthol brand becoming unisex, there is a vacuum for a men's soap brand and Axe is the best fit for filling the gap.
c) The lure for incremental profits from an established brand.
Indian soap market is around Rs 6500 crore and the men's grooming market is around Rs 1500 crore ( Economic Times). The brand may be looking to become an umbrella brand endorsing multiple products across the men's grooming category. The big question is whether these extensions will make the original deo brand vulnerable ? 
I think so.
I wonder why Axe is being extended when there is so much competition in the deo market. Axe is now attacked both on positioning front as well as on product attributes front. The Axe positioning is aped by most of the deo brands to the point that everything is so predictable and boring. Now HUL is further diluting the brand by its extension into a different category. 

The new extension carries the same positioning as the Original Axe brand . Axe bathing bar has the tagline " Engineered for Guys ". The ad campaign follows the same theme as the Axe Deo brand.

Watch the ad here : Axe Deo
Priced at a premium of Rs 35, Axe expects the brand loyalists to be the early adopters for this brand. HUL will be leveraging on its huge distribution strength and its reach to make sure that Axe Bathing Bar is available across the markets. To be fair to this experiment, Axe globally also is extended to various categories like Body Wash, Talcum powder etc but none of the extensions has been as successful as the original product. The same will be the case in the case of Axe Soap also.