Will Cinthol's new ad campaign be able to capture youth's attention?
Cinthol attempts to become relevant to a young demographic by going premium, extending itself into trendy categories and backing it all with an exotic TVC.
If Karen Lunel bathing under a waterfall gave Liril a shot in the arm, Vinod Khanna running on the seashore did the same for Cinthol. After Khanna, the other heartthrobs who lent their face (and other body parts too) to Cintol were Imran Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan.
However, what Lunel did for Liril, Cinthol could not quite duplicate with all the hunks put together — perhaps because shopping trips in large parts of India are still a male domain. But times have changed and so has Cinthol.
The new advertising campaign for the brand, conceived by Creativeland Asia (CLA) is devoid of any wellknown face but has a bunch of young people bathing in several unlikely, improbable parts of the world. There’s a good reason for that.
“Our consumer research showed shifts in lifestyle and that every individual wants to live life to the fullest. Personal grooming plays a very important role in a person’s life, and we found a good opportunity there,” explains Sunil Kataria, EVP - marketing & sales, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (GCPL), which owns Cinthol.
Launched in 1952, Cinthol was born much later than it biggest competitor in the ‘popular’ segment of toilet soaps, Lux (1929), which today is also the leader by far. Dettol (1987) and Santoor (1986), which arrived on the scene much later, are also ahead of Cinthol in this segment of the highly fragmented Rs 9,000 crore soap market.
Now GCPL is dusting up the brand and its communication in a bid to find more buyers. Kataria wants to triple Cinthol’s market share — which is in low single digits in the next five years. He plans to do that by yanking Cinthol out of the popular segment — thereby no longer having Lux as competition — adding more value to it, jacking up the price, and migrating to the premium segment, a space occupied by brands like Mysore Sandal and Dove.
The other way to attract a new audience – the youth – is to sharpen Cinthol’s extensions in the personal grooming realm with deodorants, and talcum powder, an entry into shower gels and possibly a few more categories that fit the new positioning.
This rejuvenation is taking place via an integrated approach with the launch of new product, package redesign and communication. Prakash Varma of Nirvana Films shot the ad in exotic locales in Iceland and Northern Europe, besides a few parts of India. The new TV campaign shows a bunch of youngsters bathing in open spaces with – what else — a Cinthol bar.
The tag line: ‘Alive is Awesome,’ as against previous slogans like ‘Get Ready, Get Close’ and more recently ‘Don’t Stop.’ Sajan Raj Kurup, founder, CLA, says he wants ‘Alive is Awesome’ to do for Cinthol what ‘Just Do It’ did for Nike. “Nike was just footwear, before advertising reinvented the brand,” says Kurup. “Our task is to make the brand relevant to everyone young at heart. We had to reinterpret freshness and we chose outdoors and the unisex platform to build the brand.”
Moving away from its earlier promises of ‘24-hour confidence’ and ‘long-lasting freshness’, GCPL now wants to, in Kataria’s words, “capture how young people today live their lives to the fullest.” He says the new positioning was arrived upon after observation of trends coupled with insights from consumer research.
The extensions too will be repositioned. Cinthol deos, for instance, will be differentiated from others in the market on the basis of its skin safe properties, says Kataria. “In our customer research one concern repeatedly voiced was the skin irritation that many customers experience while using deodorants,” he explains.
Cinthol also makes its maiden entry into shower gels with four variants and will encourage product trials to increase growth. “Shower gels are today where the face wash was about three years back. Customers who have been using premium soaps are now moving to shower gels and that presents an opportunity for Cinthol,” says Kataria.
Branding expert Nabankur Gupta, founder of Nobby Brand Architects & Strategic Marketing Consultants is convinced by Cinthol’s move into the premium space. “Moving upwards in the category is a smart move as long as they have something else to fill the space that will be vacated by Cinthol.
Many consumers who have been users of the brand would have now moved upwards in life over the years and if the brand wants to stay relevant to this customer base then the move to being a premium brand is a good one.” About the ad, Shubhranshu Singh, ex-marketing manager – deodorants, HUL says he quite likes it. “It’s a striking TVC that cuts through very well. It has fantastic production quality and a refreshing approach,” he says.
“But the important thing to see is whether the customer will be willing to move along,” cautions Singh. N Chandramouli, author of a book on communication however is not to impressed with the ads “insensitivity” towards the environment.
“Use of soap and wrappers being torn and thrown about in places that are supposed to be environmentally pristine and unpolluted – waterfalls, forests, the high seas — seems totally irrational to me. Also, the emotional appeal is totally lost when they show a fair-skinned man being 'bathed' with buckets of water thrown by darkskinned children,” he exclaims.