This case is about the advertising war between two popular health drink brands Horlicks and Complan in India. The war for supremacy between these two brands started as early as in 1960s and had continued ever since. Over the years, the brands were involved in aggressive comparative advertising in print and television over attributes such as ingredients, protein content, growth, and flavors. However, in late 2008, the makers of Horlicks, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare (GSK), and the makers of Complan, Heinz India (Heinz), came out with advertisements that directly compared the brands using the competitor brand's trademarks. Industry observers felt that in their bid to outdo each other, the two companies had ended up denigrating the competitor brand.| | Usually issues related to disparaging ads by rival companies were resolved by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). But with constant mudslinging at each other, the two companies decided to solve the issue in courts. In September 2008, Heinz moved the Bombay High Court objecting to the Horlicks ad , while in December 2008, GSK approached the Delhi High Court against the Complan ad.
Experts felt that the latest tiff between GSK and Heinz had brought to the fore the issues and challenges involved in comparative advertising and the legal/ethical issues involved in such kind of advertising. Keywords:
Marketing communication, Advertising, Comparative advertising, Ethics, Legal, Health drinks market, Horlicks, Compalan , GlaxoSmithKline, Heinz
The Fight for the Indian Health Drink Market Turns Ugly
In late 2008, a legal battle broke out between GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare (GSK) and Heinz India (Heinz) over the advertisements of their respective health drinks Horlicks and Complan (Refer to Exhibit I for a snapshot of GSK and Heinz).
The advertisements talked about how their respective brand was...