Economic Times reports that Reckitt Benckiser has decided to extend the popular Dettol brand to Dishwash category. This will be one of the bizarre brand extensions I have seen in the last few years. Now we can see supermarkets having Dettol bathing Soap and also Dettol Dishwash placed near to each other. ( ET Report)
The reason behind the extension is simple. According to ET, the dishwash category is worth Rs 2000 crore and the category is dominated by HUL with its Vim brand. Reckitt is now pitching Dettol against the Vim brand.
While Dettol is a brand which was able to leverage the brand's germ killing proposition to various categories like soap, handwash etc, it has not moved into toilets or kitchen. Now we are going to see this brand extending its reach to kitchen. According to the report, Dettol's entry into the dishwash will be using the sub-branding strategy - Dettol Kitchen . Dettol Kitchen will share the same positioning of germ killing and will be competing with Vim and Exo. The first product will be a Dishwashing Gel ( multi-purpose cleaner).
Can a soap brand share its name with a dishwash ?? Dettol seems to think that since the positioning is the same, it may not be a concern to the consumers. My take is that Dettol's entry into Kitchen will affect the premium image of Dettol. I don't think that a brand which has dishwash gel or a toilet cleaner can retain its premiumness for its bathing soap brand-extension. Since Dettol has a very strong equity, erosion will be felt slowly. Secondly the message for a dishwash product would also talk about strong cleaning ability . So if Dettol is going to claim that it will remove the toughest of the dirt/stains, how would a consumer of Dettol soap perceive that message ?
If Dettol can extend to Dishwash, can Vim extend to bathing soap ??
How about Pril Bodywash ???
Harpic Beauty Soap ??
I hope HUL will not react by launching Lifebuoy Dishwash gel.