Friday, June 28, 2013

Brand Wars : Sensitive Toothpastes

Indian toothpaste market is worth Rs 6000 crores ( Source Business Line) and growing at 20%. Colgate has been the undisputed market leader in this market.. Competitors has been trying to make a dent in the share through almost every strategy listed in marketing textbooks.
It was an unlikely player- Glaxo Smithkline Beecham (GSK ) which really broke into the stronghold of Colgate. GSK in 2010 brought its global dental care brand Sensodyne into the Indian market. The sensitive toothpaste segment was very small and almost unknown to the larger Indian market. Colgate had presence in that niche with its variant Colgate Sensitive. 
Sensodyne surprised the market by capturing 10% of the segment within 4 months on launch. The heavy awareness campaign made customers take notice of the brand.The campaign featured " Chill Test " where the customers who had sensitive teeth were asked to tryout chilled products after using Sensodyne. The ads were very convincing and prompted many customers to try Sensodyne.Besides the Above-The -Line ( ATL) promotion, GSK also contacted around 15000 dentists to promote Sensodyne ( Source- TOI). In one year, Sensodyne became a 100 crore brand and the Sensitive toothpaste market was growing at more than 45 % p.a.
Colgate being an agile marketer was not keeping quiet . The brand launched another variant Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief inorder to arrest the growth of the competitor.Both the brands benefited by the growth of the category which has grown to about Rs 500 crore. Sensodyne inched very close to the market-leader and at one point became the leading brand in the sensitive toothpaste category. According to reports, Sensodyne and Colgate Sensitive are now having almost same market share in the category. 

Pepsodent from HUL also got into the fray with its variant Pepsodent Expert.While every brand focused on providing relief from sensitive teeth, Pepsodent differentiated by offering  ' relief and repair'  to the consumer. This move by Pepsodent forced the players to rethink their offerings. In the latest campaign, Sensodyne has added the 'repair' proposition to the brand's positioning thereby achieving points-of-parity with Pepsodent Expert brand. 

Sensodyne success can be seen as the success of a specialist brand's fight with a product-line extension. Consumer's view Sensodyne as an expert in the field and hence the claims are more effective compared to the product-line extensions. However, Colgate and Pepsodent were quick enough to retaliate to the entry of Sensodyne albeit with little success.

The fight in the toothpaste segment became more interesting with the launch of Paradontax by GSK. Another specialist brand against bleeding gums. The war has just began. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Brand Update : Cadbury Bournville says its "Not So Sweet " but why ?

Cadbury Bournville launched in 2009 created a new market for premium dark chocolate in Indian market. The brand smartly positioned itself as THE premium chocolate with a tagline of " You don't buy a Bournville , you earn it ". The launch and follow up campaign effectively conveyed the positioning.

But the 2013 campaign comes as a shocker. The brand has ditched the " You have to earn it " positioning and took on something very peculiar - the new tagline is " Not so Sweet".
The new tvc is equally intriguing.
 Watch the new tvc here : Bournville tvc
The question is why a brand like Bournville ditch such a powerful positioning statement and replace that with a dud !

Not so sweet !! now everyone knows dark chocolate is not that sweet so in this ad, what exactly the brand is conveying - only the agency and the brand manager knows. I presume that this ad is directly imported from some other market and put in the Indian media without much thought. The ad is totally disconnected with the Indian market and fails to evoke anything in the consumer's mind. At end of it the question remains " What the heck ?
 Saving cost by killing the brand ?

Related brand
Bournville : You have to earn it 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Brand Update : Axe disappoints with Ranbir doing a Ben Affleck

Axe deo is facing the fiercest competition  in its life in India with local and MNC deo brands breathing down its neck. According to certain reports that came in ET Now's Brand Equity show, the brand had lost its leadership position in the Indian market to the new entrant Fogg.

One of the reason for the trouble is that Axe's positioning has been under threat. almost all deo brands has been aping the positioning theme of Axe thereby diluting the brand's uniqueness in the Indian market. Axe was not able to do much about it and continued with its strategy of frequent launches of new variants and importing ads from its global markets.

For a change, Axe decided to go local in its promotional strategy and roped in the current Bollywood heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor to endorse the brand. The news came as a surprise since Axe never ( in my knowledge) ran a campaign using a celebrity in India.
Axe launched its new variant Axe Blast with the new celebrity endorsement . The ad is currently on air.

Watch the ad here : Axe Ranbir Ad

What was shocking is that the ad is the exact copy of an older ad ( more than 7 years) of Axe Clicker which is a variant available in markets outside India. The Axe Clicker brand featured Ben Affleck .
Watch the ad here : Axe Ben Affleck
Now if the brand Axe can afford to bring Ranbir to the fold, why did the brand chose to just copy an old theme and present it in the Indian market ? 

Its so cheap a strategy to adopt in an era where information is available to everyone. And its a totally a wrong move when the competition is eating away the share. Ranbir will get eyeballs and may in the short-run help the brand to reinforce the existing awareness.The  current approach is sending warning signals regarding the laziness of the marketing department in attempting to find an easy way out rather than brainstorming on developing a differentiation strategy to take on the competition.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Engage Deo : Couple Deodorant !

Brand : Engage
Company : ITC

Brand Analysis # 526

When a company like ITC launches a product, there is anticipation that the product will be remarkable and will make significant impact on the category in which it is launched. Because of the size of ITC and the marketing power it has, most of the time, the brands do make an impact on the category . Brands like Sunfeast, Fiama etc has proved the marketing acumen on ITC.

So naturally when news spread that ITC is foraying into the deo space , such an anticipation is natural. ITC entered the Rs 1400 ( approx) crore Indian deo market with its Engage brand recently. The launch ads are right now on air. The launch campaign however was disappointing because I expected something unique and different from the rest of the deo brands. But surprisingly, ITC chose to play the same theme which the rest of the deo players are following - the so called " Chemistry " between men and women which is apt for an ad for condom rather than a deo.

Engage is being positioned as India's first ' couple deodorant'. I really don't understand the concept initially but the brand's microsite offers some explanation. These deos come in  three pairs ( hence couple)-Rush ( Male & Blush ( Female), Mate ( male ) and Spell ( Female) and Urge ( male) and Tease ( Female). What I don't understand is whether consumer can only buy these in pairs ( pun intended) ?  And what is that the company is intending to convey ? Is it targeting the married couple who would be buying the pair and thus showing love to each other. What happens if husband like Urge and Wife loves Blush ?? 

The launch campaign was a big dampener . The brand is positioned on the bases of " chemistry between the couples " . The ad mentions that " Love Has An All New Language " which probably is the positioning platform of the brand. However, the romance or attraction or chemistry is the most used theme of all the deo brands and Engage sadly failed to differentiate .The focus on " couple deodorant" also will add trouble to the brand since it may restrict the brand's target segment . Another differentiator is the design. ITC has brought in some freshness in the bottle design that will encourage some trial for the brand. 
Watch the ad here : ITC Engage Deo
I think, ITC has rushed into the launch without creating a powerful differentiator. The brand is now launched as an ordinary deo brands that promises  attraction of opposite sex. The Indian deo market is witnessing commoditisation because there is hardly any difference between the brands either in product or in communication. Fogg brand has moved up in the market giving a run-for-money for market leader Axe because it chose to speak in a different language. Engage sadly failed to offer anything new.