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One of the oldest cosmetic companies in the world, Yardley of London started in 1770 and became recognised as a world

leader in soap and perfumery by the beginning of the twentieth century. Currently, its product range consists of fragrances, bath and body luxuries, skin care and hair care products. Yardley of London is a traditional British cosmetics brand and is one of the oldest in the world. Established in 1770, Yardley had become recognised as a World leader in soap and perfumery by the beginning of the twentieth century. By 1910, it moved to London's premier thoroughfare Bond Street, and in 1921 Yardley received its first Royal Warrant, an honour bestowed on only the finest British companies that provide outstanding

n November 2009, Wipro acquired the rights for marketing Yardley in Asia , Middle East, Australasia and parts of Africa. That was an important turning point for this 240 year old heritage brand.

The acquisition of a brand like Yardley makes sense for Wipro whose personal care portfolio is having only one major brand - Santoor. Yardley range of personal care products gives Wipro an instant access to the premium segment of the personal care market.

Yardley , though a brand with high recall and recognition, was languishing in the Indian market because of the lack of marketing support. There was seldom any campaign for the brand neither it was promoted at the store level. The new owner in Wipro has a very successful marketing history demonstrated by the success of the brand Santoor.

Wipro has made its first major initiative for Yardley by roping in the current Bollywood Diva Katrina Kaif as the brand ambassador for Yardley. The brand

expects to ride in the current sensation's popularity to make a comeback in the Indian personal care market.

The brand is currently running a campaign featuring Katrina Watch the ad here : Yardley

Before going into the quality of the campaign, its important to understand the tactical significance of such a move. Yardley wants to move fast in terms of reinforcing its brand credentials. It want to announce its resurgence fast and make an impact. For that celebrity endorsement offers a reasonable strategic sense.

But as usual , the execution failed the brand strategy. The ad was poorly made in the sense that there was no creative spark in it. The theme, execution, message everything was so cliche that the ad never made any impact (in me !). At best it reminded about the brand nothing more nothing less. The ad give Yardley a new tagline " My Yardley, My Fragrance ".

The ad wanted to give the message of heritage , London Connection, Signature fragrance , attributes of Yardley.But although these messages were conveyed, the ad failed to create a premium image for the brand.

As an immediate tactical move, the current campaign does achieve its purpose but like Santoor, Wipro needs to find a sustainable positioning platform for Yardley. It should push the creatives working for the brand to do another Santoor.

Lets hope that Yardley achieves its true potential under Wipro.

History -From grannies to handcuffs

How does a once supremely successful brand descend into failure? The answer, in the case of Yardley cosmetics, is by failing to move with the times. Yardley was founded in London in 1770 by William Yardley, a purveyor of swords, spurs and buckles for the aristocracy. He took over a lavender soap business from his son-in-law William Cleaver who had gambled away his inheritance. Throughout the next 200 years the brand grew from strength to strength with its portfolio of flower-scented soaps, talcum powders and traditional perfumes. Yardleys brand identity was quintessentially English, and it supplied soaps and perfumes to the Queen and the Queen Mother. However, during the 1960s Yardley was seen as a cool brand associated with swinging London. The English Rose image was a digression, said Yardleys former chief executive Richard Finn. In the 1960s, Yardley was associated with Twiggy, Carnaby Street and mini skirts, not stuck in a cottage garden with green wellies. The following decades saw the brand slide back towards a conservative image, as the age of the average customer grew older. By the start of the 1990s its granny image was being commented on by certain British journalists. When SmithKline Beecham bought the company in 1990 for 110 million, it embarked on numerous attempts to spruce up the brands identity. In 1997, the company changed its advertising model from actress Helena Bonham Carter to supermodel Linda Evangelista. One of the adverts showed her shackled in chains and handcuffs a long way from grannies and green wellies. But the multi-million pound advertising campaign failed to work. In fact, it served only to alienate the brands most loyal customers. On 26 August 1998 the company went into receivership with debts of about 120 million. The brand eventually found a buyer in the form of German hair care giant Wella. It remains to be seen whether Wella will be able to modernize the Yardley brand.

Lessons from Yardley

Dont neglect your core customers. Brands must try to change over time without neglecting their traditional customers. Remember that historical brands carry historical baggage. The Yardley brand identity had evolved over more than two hundred years. It couldnt be erased with one advertising campaign.