Savlon: Heals Without Hurting
Product Information (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savlon http://www.mims.com/India/drug/info/SAVLON/SAVLON%20liqd ) Savlon is a brand of antiseptic liquid (Solution) marketed by Johnson & Johnson. It contains I.P. 1.5% v/v Chlorhexidine Gluconate Solution and B.P. Strong cetrimide solution eq. to Cetrimide I.P. 3.0% w/v. (Supplier: http://www.vitabiopharma.com/products.htm ) What went wrong? (Source: http://marketingpractice.blogspot.com/2009/01/savlon-heals-without-hurting.html ) Brand: Savlon Company: Johnson & Johnson Agency: Lowe Lintas Brand Analysis Count: 369 Can a brand ,which was proved by laboratory tests as better than its competitor, backed by one of the most reputed business houses in the world, having many product advantages over its competitor, have any chance of failing in the market ?
If your answer is no , then think again .... Savlon which was clinically proven to be a better antiseptic than Dettol, backed by Johnson & Johnson, having advantages like better scent and non-stinging properties miserably failed in the Indian market. Why? Frankly I am also clueless. That is why marketing as a subject is so intriguing... it is full of
surprises. Philip Kotler once said " Marketing is a subject that is easy to (pretend to) understand but difficult to practice ". Looking at Savlon, I wonder whether the success of a brand is depended on sheer luck... Is luck the only reason why out of 100 brands launched, only 5 succeed? Is Savlon an unlucky brand? Or Did Johnson & Johnson failed in building this brand? Savlon was a brand owned by a pharmaceutical MNC ICI ltd. Later ICI's OTC brands were acquired by Johnson &Johnson. Savlon was relaunched in Indian market in 1993. The brand was expected to give the market leader Dettol, a run for its money. But even after millions of rupees spent, Dettol still rules the antiseptic lotion market. Savlon had lot of advantages over Dettol. According to media reports, some lab tests indicated that Savlon is an effective germ killer than Dettol. Savlon is effective against both Gram Positive and Gram Negative germs. Another advantage about Savlon was that it does not sting while being applied on wounds. Dettol used to give a stinging sensation while applied on wounds. Savlon also had a better scent compared to the more clinical smell of Dettol. Armed with these properties, Savlon went into a direct attack on Dettol . The product was positioned as an antiseptic that does not hurt while healing. The main differentiator for the brand was its no-sting property and better smell. According to media reports, during the relaunch, J&J spent heavily on promoting the brand. The relaunch was a success and consumers tried out the new product. But the story did not continue like that. Dettol confronted the frontal attack from Savlon in a different manner. It tried to attack one of the most valuable brand of J&J - Band -Aid by launching Dettol plasters. This move got J&J defensive. It never expected Dettol to attack another brand in retaliation. Dettol plasters had the potential to attract consumers because of the brand equity commanded by Dettol Antiseptic. J&J scrambled to protect Band-Aid by launching a series of variants in the medicated plaster segment. In doing so, resources were spent on defending Band-Aid rather than in advancing Savlon. Savlon suffered heavily because it lost the support interms of investment in brand building. Dettol had a brand equity built over more than 50 years (at that period of time) and it is not an easy task to break into that equity. It needed painful long term sustained investment. How ever Savlon was pushed to a back burner after Dettol introduced the plaster. Savlon never re-emerged.
During 1998, a funny incident happened. I deliberately used the word funny because it is funny. In 1998 HLL acquired the rights to launch Savlon Soaps from J&J. While the rights for antiseptic lotion remained with J&J, the marketing alliance was for soaps. HLL was worried at the success of Dettol soaps. Armed with a strong association with antiseptic property, Dettol soap became a huge success and cornered a significant chunk of the premium medicated soap category. HLL, who wanted to rule the entire soap category, wanted to arrest the rise of Dettol soap. Instead of trying to develop its own brand of soap, HLL looked for an easy solution. Thus came the idea of marketing alliance with Savlon. With much fanfare, Savlon antiseptic soap was launched. J&J was happy because it got some cashflow by giving the rights of Savlon.The marketing alliance lasted only for 4 years. According to reports, HLL put Savlon soap in dustbin in 2003 and repositioned its Lifebuoy brand to fight against Dettol. So where did Savlon went wrong? There are marketing experts who say that the positioning of Savlon was not correct. No-stinging and sweet scent is not important for a consumer looking for an antiseptic lotion. What they look for is effectiveness. Hence Savlon was trying to differentiate on attributes which are not considered to be important by the consumers. More over, consumers tend to believe that the stinging sensation is a side-effect of the effectiveness of the antiseptic. So if it does not hurt, it is not effective. Dettol has taught them that way. I believe that Savlon did not achieve its desired success because J&J was not able to support it interms of investment. Somewhere along the way, the company disowned the brand. One reason can be that antiseptic lotion is a small market that does not warrant such heavy investment. But if that is so, the the company shouldn't have introduced a brand in such a category. Savlon now occupies a negligible part of the market. It is a popular brand in the institutional market but in the consumer market, it is a no-brand.
Dettol : 100% protection, Is the brand protected? (Source: http://www.mims.com/India/drug/info/DETTOL/DETTOL%20liqd )
Brand :Dettol Company :Reckitt and Benckiser Agency: JWT The brand has been well known for years. Dettol is Rs 300 crore brand of Reckitt and Benckiser formerly Reckitt and Coleman. Dettol is a 70 year old brand . Launched in 1936 as an antiseptic lotion, the brand became a generic name for antiseptic lotion similar to Xerox in Photocopiers.From its launch to 1980's the brand had a dream run with virtually no competitors. Having no competition is a problem, the growth will be stagnant. During 1980's Dettol found that the sales are remaining stagnant, the reason being that the brand has its presence in most of the households but are seldom used . Hence the repeat purchases are
not there. Dettol had to expand the usage beyond cuts and bruises. Hence Reckitt and Coleman unleashed a campaign aiming to expand the usage of the brand to an all purpose antiseptic that can be used for shaving,rinsing, and as a general disinfectant. Dettol have always been positioned as a 100% germ fighter with germ fighting and protection as the core value. Since the antiseptic lotion market was stagnant Reckitt wanted to leverage the brand to other categories . Dettol saw over these years plenty of brand extentions. The first launch was the soap in 1990's. The initial launch was unsuccessful because the brand moved from core value of protection to love and care. Since the brand faltered in its positioning, failure was imminent. The soap was again relaunched with positioning as " 100 % protection" and now have a
reasonable market share of 12% in the premium category. The next extention was in the form of liquid soap.The liquid soap category is only 12 crore worth but the hand wash category is expected to grow to 100 crore. The brand also tried to extend to talc, band aid, and shaving gel but failed miserably in those categories. Even as the brand is extending, Reckitt failed to strengthen the mother brand and faced competition in that category from Savlon. Now Dettol is trying to make a foothold in the soap market with the launch of Dettol with moisturizer and glycerin variants. It has also launched a body wash recently. This brand is a classic case for brand extention failures.We can see a brand struggling to find its place in the market. Some time success can be very disturbing. Xerox wanted to extend to com
puters but failed miserably. Similarly Dettol wants to do some thing with the brand because it was successful . Now after all these failures, still Dettol is trying with variants forgetting the core brand. I am not saying that you should not extend the brand, But don't do it at the expense of the mother brand . When an antiseptic brand tries to extend to a segment which is essentially cosmetic, it cannot compete with the major players on the cosmetic platform , what at best can happen is that the brand can exist as a niche brand extending its core value and creating a niche .
Other Topics http://marketingpractice.blogspot.com/2011/09/exo-anti-bacterial-dishwashbar.html http://mdi-marquity.com/Case-Study/Dettol%20Case%20Study.pdf