Sure Deodorants : Would Rexona's failure haunt?
With the launch of Sure Deodorants, HUL has brought the world’s no.1 brand in deodorants to India with the hope that it garners the same level of success for HUL as achieved in Europe and America. Before the launch of rexona deodorants in 1995, the segment was a non-existent one and HUL’s insight of an existing market convinced them of taking there almost 50 year old rexona brand (rexona soaps were launched in 1947 in India) into the segment. The fact that within 2 years of its launch it held a market share of almost 40 percent with the remaining being split between smaller and lesser known competitors like Old Spice, Brut etc. is a testimony of HUL’s sound business sense. HUL’s general business trend of having multiple products in the same segment for capturing all the benefits of the multiple positioning continued here also, with its launch of Axe in 1999, its new trendier and youthful range of deodorants. Aggressive marketing and the westernized feel made Axe achieve 40 percent market share within 2 years of its launch and became the market leader, a position it holds currently too. This made rexona deodorant’s market share dip to 9 percent. The large dip in rexona’s presence forced HUL to try different ideas to combat it, starting from clubbing it with Lux to changing of the segment it operated in from deodorants to anti-per spirants. Calling rexona a failure would be undermining the market Axe has garnered today, once created by rexona. Axe has always been a dearer child to HUL, be it marketing or advertising. Per se rexona was nowhere near Axe notwithstanding the fact that Indian consumers has always associated rexona with traditional soap industry and this always prevented HUL from marketing it the way Axe was marketed. It is also a fact that consumers especially Indian avoid products that create confusion, like the one created by rexona by switching from deodorants to anti per spirants. Such kind of...
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