RIN DETERGENT: TO POSITION OR REPOSITION
In early January 1989, Irfan Mustafa, General Manager, Personal Products and Market Research,
Lever Brothers Pakistan Limited, was wondering what action to take regarding the marketing of
the laundry detergent bar RIN, which had been introduced to the Pakistani market in April 1984.
The product was specially formulated and promoted as a fabric washer. Mr. Mustafa felt the
sales volumes for RIN had reached reasonably satisfactory levels in 1988. However, a recent
survey confirmed his suspicion that RIN was primarily being used for dish washing.
Lever Brothers Pakistan Limited (Levers), a subsidiary of Lever Brothers International, produced
and marketed a variety of consumer products in Pakistan. The company’s diverse product line
consisted of items such as shampoos, skin and shaving creams, edible oils, margarine, toilet
soaps, scourers, and laundry detergents in powder and solid bar forms. In 1988, Levers had a
profit before tax of Rs 277 million on sales of Rs 3.65 billion.1
In 1988, the total fabric wash sales of 263,050 tonnes in Pakistan consisted of 247,000 tonnes of
laundry soap, 14,500 tonnes of nonsoap detergent (NSD) powders, and 1550 tonnes of NSD
bars.2 The laundry soap, NSD detergent, and NSD bar markets had grown by 5 percent, 12
percent, and 29 percent respectively, as compared to 1987. Laundry soap retailed for Rs 10 to Rs
15 per kilogram (kg), whereas NSD detergent powders had a wider price range, retailing between
Rs 20 to Rs 48 per kg. RIN was the only NSD bar in the market, with the standard 125 grams
size selling for Rs 3.25 in 1988. Lever had no entry in the laundry soap segment, but its two
brands of NSD powders Surf and Sunlight had captured 50 percent of the NSD powder market.
US $1=Rs 20.00 in 1988.
1 tonne = 1000 kg.
Wasim Azhar, Lecturer in Marketing, prepared this case as the basis for class discussion rather than... [continues]
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