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CASE: M-313A
DATE: 02/07/08

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. COMPANY

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 MARKET

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.

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2

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 to illustrate...