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HLL reviewing market for Lifebuoy talcum

11-May-2004
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HLL reviewing market for Lifebuoy talcum

Having stretched the equity of its largest selling soap brand - Lifebuoy - to a talcum, HLL is now re-evaluating the powder variant.

Mr Gopal Vittal, Vice-President, Personal Wash, HLL, said, " We are re-evaluating the entry of Lifebuoy talcum powder and are taking a closer look at the need for this variant.''

Considering Lifebuoy continues to be the largest selling soaps brand in HLL's kitty, the FMCG major feels that its powder variant also needs to have significant shares to justify its existence in the market. "We have had reasonable success with Lifebuoy talcum powder and are not exactly gloriously happy about it,'' says Mr Vittal. Currently, Lifebuoy Talcum has a 2 per cent value share in the stagnant talcum powder category with Lever's own brand of Ponds Dreamflower talc commanding a leading share in the category.

Adds Mr Vittal, "When you have a brand as big as Lifebuoy, you have got to have entries that are equally big. We are not satisfied with a 2 per cent share for Lifebuoy Talc. It should have either a 10 per cent share or should not exist at all.''

While the Lifebuoy franchise currently commands a leading 17.5 per cent value share in the soaps category, growing its talc variant to register significant shares in the languishing talcum powder category is not going to be easy for the company. Besides, HLL's own Pond's talcs are already sitting pretty with a dominant share in the category followed by a host of fragmented talcum powder brands with shares less than five per cent.

In fact, in the recent past, HLL had also decided not to extend its Fair & Lovely brand into a talcum powder. Besides, it has recently also withdrawn its Vaseline brand of talcum powders from the market.

HLL has also decided to restrict its Lifebuoy hand-wash to certain outlets considering the limited acceptability of the product.

In March 2003, HLL had introduced Lifebuoy Family Talc on the platform of health. It has two pack sizes, pegged at Rs 28 for 100 gm and Rs 68 for 400 gm. Positioned as a `complete family health' talc, Lifebuoy Family Talc is expected to provide `All day protection' and meant to fight body odour causing germs all day long, according to the communication on the purple and white packs of its talc.

Apart from Ponds, HLL has in its portfolio talcum powder brands such as Liril, Axe and Denim.

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