Santoor reveals new avatar to appeal to contemporary women

To commemorate its 25th anniversary, Santoor showcases new identity; this rebranding initiative is targeted at today’s Indian women

e4m by Shree Lahiri
Updated: Apr 19, 2012 9:09 AM
Santoor reveals new avatar to appeal to contemporary women

As the Indian woman evolved, so did her hopes, aspirations and profession – a fact that Santoor, a brand of beauty soap, has highlighted in its re-launch initiative. To commemorate its 25th anniversary, Santoor has come out with a new identity, complete with a contemporary logo and packaging.

For this re-launch Santoor has roped in film actors Mahesh Babu and Saif Ali Khan to star in its latest commercial. While Mahesh Babu features in the commercial for Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Saif Ali Khan stars in the same commercial for the other states.

Core proposition of younger looking skin
According to Anil Chugh, Senior Vice President, Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting, Santoor has seen tremendous growth and has rapidly gained market share. It is among the top three soap brands in the country, he shared.

“One of the reasons for our growth is the consistency in communicating our core proposition of younger looking skin while keeping the message contemporary over the years. Also, our focus on providing right value to the customer has contributed significantly to the brand’s success,” said Chugh.

The company has changed the fragrance, packaging and shape of Santoor to give consumers a better experience. Most of the brands in their portfolio are re-launched every 18-24 months on account of either a new feature or new positioning. This is done to keep the brands fresh and relevant. Consumer expectations keep changing and brands need to re-invent to meet these expectations.

The brief
The brief given to Draft FCB Ulka, the brand’s agency of 20 years, was to spread awareness about the new Santoor and create excitement around the new logo, a golden flower and what it stands for – everlasting natural beauty. The company wanted to up the user imagery and brand imagery so as to appeal to a wider and up-market audience.

On the media mix, Chugh said that they will be using mainstream television channels, print, outdoor and digital media to promote the re-launch. Without revealing the ad spends earmarked, he said, “We have been consistently investing in brands over the last few years.”

Conveying the brand promise
The communication makes the current consumer feel good about her brand choice. By portraying up-market and sophisticated women of substance, the communication also aims to attract new users.

According to KS Chakravarthy (Chax), National Creative Director, Draft FCB Ulka, “The anthem film does not just celebrate the evolution of women but also celebrates enduring beauty.

According to Dharmesh Shah, Creative Director, Draft FCB Ulka, Bangalore, “The challenge was to tread that thin line of appealing to new consumers while not alienating brand loyalists, which I think this film does effectively.”

The fact that Santoor is the brand choice of beautiful women of substance who multi-task between their careers and homes sets apart the brand from others in the beauty space, claims the company.

On how the two brand ambassadors would add to the brand message, Chax shared that the brand ambassadors take notice of the Santoor Woman in the theme films and appreciate her beauty, mistake her to be someone younger, only to be surprised to know that she is a successful professional and a mother too. “The appreciation from well-known male celebrities was the best way to leverage the equity of the brand ambassadors,” he said.

In the anthem film this was brought alive by showing confident, young urban women from different professions and various walks of life. This signified the change that women are moving out of their homes, coming out of their shells, achieving new heights and making a difference. While in the theme film, the profession of the protagonist as a confident and successful fashion photographer captured the essence of a modern changing woman.

The media mix for the re-launch includes TV, print, outdoor and digital media.

Industry speak
The industry, however, did not give this a thumps up. There is a feeling that it is just old wine in a new bottle. And having celebrities has not added to the appeal either.

Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar, NCD, Bates 141 said, “In the commercial, one waits for the kid to say ‘Mummy’. Just because Saif Ali Khan is there, doesn’t mean it is good communication.” He is of the opinion that the sequence of action of the commercial is predictable and quite boring.

Prathap Suthan, Chief Creative Officer, iYogi without mincing words, said that while seeing the commercial he felt like he was looking at something out of the 1980s. “I am not sure if the treatment of the commercial did justice to the target audience. The production/casting could also have been pushed further. We have seen this kind of script too often and it might be a downer if the TG is the urbane, sophisticated Indian woman.

“But on the other hand, I must compliment the agency and the client for using expensive celebs as non-endorsers. This would be a first-of-a-kind at least within this category where the actual celebrity is used in a supporting role,” he said.

Suthan is curious to see the response to this initiative, but he wished that “the production quality wasn't compromised to overcome the serious monies they would have paid the celebrities”.

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