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Detergents struggle to scoff competitor’s share

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Detergents struggle to scoff competitor’s share

Detergent as a category has reached a stage where market expansion is unattainable. The result is that increasingly brands’ focus is shifting from garnering new consumers to converting existing ones. The idea no doubt is to increase one’s share by eating into the others. Interestingly, these brands are focusing more on their creative making an impact instead of increasing their share of voice.

“Detergents category has become static and stagnant,” says Jagdeep Kapoor, Managing Director and Chairman, Samsika Research, “All the innovations that we see in communication strategies now are attempts only to shake the category. Tactics have to get sharper to attract consumers’ attention now.”

Most detergent promotion and advertisement campaigns off late have something different to offer that does draw consumer’s attention. The Tide tie-up with Baghban, the first of its kind for the brand is one such example. The TVC that was released, based on a song from the movie, stood out because it was not tried for the category in this manner before.

Explains Sanjay Bhutiani, Head, Leo Entertainment, “Tide briefed us that they wanted to explore the movies arena and they wanted big stars. They wanted something that would connect with the mass audience, the middle class housewife. A family drama proved to be the best platform. What we had to be careful about was to maintain the global format that Tide uses for depicting whiteness.”

Another ad that is worth talking about is Wheel’s latest TVC, which features television actress Sakshi Tanwar (Parvathi Bhabhi of ‘Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki’). The character ‘Parvathi’ symbolises a responsible home maker. Bringing in a figure that strikes a chord with housewives is good association for the brand. Apart from that, the attempt is to also help increase brand recall.

While this ad aims at eating into same priced products’ share, Active Wheel (a variant of Wheel) aims at the share of competitors at different price points as well. As per Sudhendra Sharma, Brand Services Manager, Lowe, this brand is targeting the section of people who want to upgrade to a better product but at a price they can afford. The brand has joined hands with forthcoming movie ‘Paisa Vasool’. Sharma elucidates, “The movie’s title itself fits the brand’s tag line ‘Mehengi waali Dhulai, budget mein samaaye’. The TVC of this ad will use Manisha Koirala. In this case, this would be the first time that HLL has associated itself with any movie.”

These kinds of tie-ups definitely break the clutter. Premium brands like Surf and Ariel are also eyeing the share of lower priced brands. The recent TVCs of these brands promote sachets and encourage need based use of these brands.

Every brand is trying something different to get into the consumers’ mindspace. Even Nirma, which is otherwise a creatively dormant advertiser, is making its presence felt by its latest TVC.

Shedding more light on the overall picture, Kapoor remarks, “Brands are trying different ways to get to the consumer now. With Tide, it is a striking way. With Wheel, it is by way of familiarity and Nirma is a shocking way. But clearly brands seem to be more focussed at brand switches right now.”

However, he believes that there is still scope for the category to be expanded. Says Kapoor, “That is not the way to go. The category has to be developed and for the same, they should try to grow in terms of new ideas, usage and applications.”

Detergent being a category where you can’t advice people to wash their clothes twice and not once a day is not easy to expand. Hence, the focus at the moment would be to breaking others’ consumers and of course rural markets.


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