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Dec 05, 2009, 03.05 PM IST
Hindustan Unilever (HUL) is upping the ante in categories where its brands are positioned as challengers. It is showing some aggressive spirits in some of its advertising.
However, the battle for Rs 1,200-1,500 crore water purifier market can be expected to intensify. HUL has followed up the big ad push, which we saw in July. Hence, Rs 1 crore challenge campaign, with the new variant auto fill, takes the fight right into Eureka Forbes Aquaguard territory. Pureit, which saw revenues of about Rs 190 crore last year, will get a boost by retailing at multi-brand durable outlet.
“Pureit went about creating a market when it came in,” recalls Vikram Surendran, GM - Water at Hindustan Unilever, “It is important for us to realize it because at that time, in water purifiers, we only had an option of candle filters, which operated at a much lower price point and did not really purify the water like ultra violet devices and RO systems.”
Pureit is a product that purifies water without electricity or running water but makes it as safe as boiled water, he says.
HUL is showing the same aggressive spirit in some of its advertising. Experts said that this special treatment is being used to new categories like water purifiers and antiseptic creams. In short, the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) giant is looking to create a market.
Harish Bijoor, Chief Executive Officer of Harish Bijoor Consults, says HUL’s ambition of entry in the water segment is to bring in a unique way of water filtration and purification. “To that extent, you have the language, which really goes into a format of challenge,” he says.
Meanwhile, Eureka Forbes, the market leader in water purifiers with a 52% national share, claims its focus — after the recent court settlement — will be less on competitive advertising and more on growing the market.
“The company was continuing its advertising strategy just before this blind test commercial was on,” says Aslam Karmali, Chief Executive Officer of Consumer Division of Eureka Forbes. He further adds that eight out of 10 diseases are caused due to drinking water. “We developed this commercial some years back.”
For HUL, the battle does not stop there. It is also turning up the heat in the skin care category. Emami moved the courts to stop a commercial for Vaseline body lotion, which disparaged all creams named Boro. Emami said that this is a direct attack on Boruplus, which is a Rs 200-crore brand and has a 70% share of the antiseptic cream market.
“In spite of all these efforts by the Vaseline to disparage the brand through incorrect claims, the brand continues to do well,” says Harsh Agarwal, Director of Emami. “We will be able to take care of the situation with the kind of advertisements, which we are airing,” he adds.
“Emami has faith in consumers,” he says, adding they will be loyal towards the brand, which they are using for many years.
Emami believes that falling market share of HUL could be the reason behind its new-found aggression. “HUL is losing market in many categories,” Agarwal says. “This might be an effort to take back the market share by whatever means.”
This could be a conscious attempt by the company that sees advertising decisions centralized, globally and regionally to get back to more localized practical marketing that delivers when the going gets tough.
“Advertising for the world has to be based on certain basic elements of the brand,” says Lowe India President and COO Pranesh Misra, whose agency did the ‘daag acche hain’ campaign for Surf Excel, “That is what led to campaign. It was a fantastic campaign but it did not recognize any competition. HUL realized that they have swung a bit too much in that direction at the expense of localization and tactical communication, which was reflected in the market share movement.”
The challenger brands are typically a lot more competitive because they cannot afford to outspend the leaders. Though HUL is in a comfortable position, it has got all the aggression of a challenger. It has the brand equity and deep pockets to overwhelm any player.
Tags: Hindustan Unilever (HUL), water purifier, Pureit, Vikram Surendran, Harish Bijoor, Emami, Eureka Forbes, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG)
May 22 2013, 13:11
- in MARKET OUTLOOK
May 22 2013, 10:44
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