HUL and Reckitt indulge in ad war


Marketing wars and competitive advertising is a common sight in businesses and it is foul tactics and fighting that occupies the centre stage. Ads are floated to woo customers and increase the brand value, but brands get their hands dirty in the process. Ad-wars are becoming intense with every passing day and now it is the two European companies that are fighting a pitched battle in the Indian market.

Hindustan Unilever Ltd., and Reckitt are the two companies which given a battle cry by launching commercials outsmarting each other. Firstly Reckitt showed an advertisement of Dettol Kitchen Cleaner saying it is superior to VIM liquid dishwash.  HUL, on the contrary, had launched a print ad which portrays Lifebouy liquid soap a better product than Dettol antiseptic. They have now come out with their TVC as well.

HUL had earlier filed a petition in the High Court of Culcutta, on which the court has directed Reckitt to remove a portion of the ad which targeted Vim and claimed its product superior. The print version launched by HUL is an extension of its TV commercial which was aired last year. The TV commercial takes an obvious dig at Reckitt’s Dettol  kitchen cleaner. The ad shows the negative association of the antiseptic lotion maker and kitchen cleaner.

Reckitt went all the way to challenge the ad; however, HUL was good enough to defend it. The companies in the FMCG sector are targeting customers with their marketing gimmicks and the effect of these ads is well-pronounced even if the ads fail to withstand.

The company officials in the HUL say that they are evaluating the problem internally and the expert review says that a commercial in no way is going to affect Dettol’s market. Though, the ad-wars between the two established brands are going to create some excitement in the market.

The move to launch ads of this kind is something which is well planned to create a buzz in the segment. The industry estimates makes clear the position of Dettol in the antiseptic liquid market. The product currently enjoys 86% of the market share while Lifebuoy enjoys a share of 14% in the health segment. But it is definitely the other way round in the kitchen cleaning segment where VIM is miles ahead of Dettol.



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