After shelving its plans to launch a Fair & Lovely talcum powder, HLL has decided to withdraw its Vaseline talcum powder from the market. Unlike Fair & Lovely talcum powder, which was used more as a test launch in Andhra Pradesh, Vaseline talcum was treated as a national brand and has been in the market for the past two years.
Mr Vivek Rampal, Business Head, Skincare, HLL, told Business Line: "Vaseline talcum powder did not do well in the market, and was thus phased out. It did not appeal to consumers as there was no point of differentiation compared with other brands."
Vaseline, primarily a winter care brand, is mainly known for its petroleum jelly offering and is also available as a body lotion and crack removal cream.
Meanwhile, the talcum powder market has not exactly been registering any significant growth rates. HLL's Ponds Dreamflower talc continues to be the market leader in the category along with its two variants Pond's Magic and Ponds Sandal.
Adds Mr Rampal: "The Vaseline powder was launched specifically to handle summer related problems such as prickly heat. But consumers did not see it as a distinctive product."
Even in the case of Fair & Lovely talc, in spite of the brand being big, its extension into talc did not prove worthwhile for the company.
In fact, Levers officials believe that whenever any new innovation does not have the desired hit rate, the product has not met the standards of its consumers. Of late, it has also removed the Lifebuoy hand wash from the shelves.
"The talc category may not be growing but Ponds has been growing by double digits," says Mr Rampal. With a 55-per cent volume share in the talc category, Levers has talc extensions of its soap brands such as Lifebuoy, Liril, Axe and Denim.