The latest Surf ads have come a long way since the good old 'Lalita ji' days. The latest Surf commercials- both TVCs and print campaigns, are all about 'KidStains'. Quite intriguing! So we felt that a little probing on our part was quite requisite, because from what it seems, HLL is all set to change the positioning for its brand that has become 'generic' to its category.
When we talked to HLL, we found that the image change had its base in the insight that consumer expressions and expectations have changed. This is what an HLL spokesperson had to say…"Surf has always been positioned as a brand that offers 'best clean'. In that sense, Surf's position has not changed over the years. However, the expression and consumer expectation of 'best clean' has undergone a change with the entry of newer, modern brands. Surf has kept pace with competition and these changing needs. From the earlier 'best clean as it removes tough dirt', the brand now offers 'best clean because it removes more stains more effectively'."
But we were still not clear on 'KidStains' and how it had anything to do with the changed expressions. So we probed more and spokesperson at HLL said, "Kids are stain magnets; kids make even an ordinary stain tougher than what it is! This was an insight that led to the present communication."
A look at the communication, and you're likely to feel that Surf's actually trying to hook on a higher segment. Is it supposed to do so? We questioned our spokesperson. "At Rs. 85/- per Kg, Surf operates in the premium end of the detergents market (most of the market is at Rs. 20/Kg). And therefore, Surf communication has always had a premium feel to it, consonant with its price (relative to market), position and its target consumer", he says.
Quite surprising! Did we ever feel the 'premium-ness' before?
Moreover, if you feel Surf Excel and Ariel are competing brands, our spokesperson has more surprises in store. "In pricing terms and as consumers see it, Ariel and Surf Excel are competing brands - with Surf Excel leading Ariel. However, Surf does not compete with Ariel. In fact, from a segment perspective, it competes with Tide and Henko Stain Champion", he says.
If that comes as a surprise once again, wait for more, as according to our source, there is a lot in store at HLL in terms of their communication and marketing strategy. Lets just wait and watch!