Consumer heavyweight Hindustan Lever (HLL) has pulled out its ayurvedic brand - Lever Ayush - from the traditional retail channel following a recent brand review.
The existing inventory of the brand has been largely exhausted through `buy one, get one free' promotions during the recent months. Launched in '02 to take on competitors like Dabur, Himalaya Drug Company and Ayur in the growing ayurvedic and herbal segment, the brand did not catch the fancy of consumers.
The Lever Ayush range included shampoo, hair oil, cough syrup and Headache Roll On. Its direct selling arm - HLL Network - currently markets the Ayush Spa range of products, which, the company claims, are completely different from the Lever Ayush profile. Earlier, Aviance was another brand which was shifted from the traditional channel to HLL's direct selling business.
Confirming this, a company spokesperson said that HLL found that consumers needed to experience the benefits of the product which would be done through its services, the Ayush theraphy centres.
The company has tied up with the Coimbatore-based Arya Vaidya Pharmacy to provide technical know-how and authenticity Ayush needs, given that HLL did not have any background in ayurvedic products. HLL hoped that the brand would be able to cash in on the double-digit growth rate recorded by the Rs 2,000-crore Indian healthcare market.
Analysts say that the company did not handle the launch very efficiently. HLL had planned to promote Ayush on three fronts - increasing penetration through home-to-home sampling, foraying into several new ayurvedic segments and making it one of the most visible brands on the advertising front.
The company had targeted annual sales of Rs 200 crore in 2-3 years since its launch in '00. However, according to market estimates, HLL's turnover is not more than Rs 30 crore.
The `push' route of direct selling rather than the `pull' one, which would call for more advertising spends. The company has been cleared the existing inventory in the market through promotional offers.