The lathery journey of the 2.3k crore-plus Santoor brand

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The sandalwood and turmeric soap made by Wipro, which also claimed to make your skin lie about your age, is currently making money. 

Santoor, a sandalwood and turmeric soap by Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting (WCCL), claims to satisfy the universal need for eternal youth. 

Its advertisements have sung, “Haldi our chandan ke gun samaye Santoor,” like the Pied Piper over the years. Santoor Santoor, twacha kuch aur nikhare. And consumers always appear to fall for it. 

This assertion was supported by CEO Vineet Agrawal’s recent statement to PTI that Santoor has grown to be a brand worth more than Rs 2,300 crore in FY22. It reached a revenue milestone of Rs 1,000 crore in 2011–12. 

In a recent Financial Express article, he was quoted as saying, “Santoor continues to do well in India. We continued to be the second-best-selling soap brand with sales of more than Rs 2,300 crore the previous year. Santoor is still expanding nicely; the first quarter should see a growth of at least 16 per cent. 

According to the business, Santoor is currently the top brand in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Gujarat. 

According to WCCL’s annual report for 2020–21, Santoor’s growth was 14.8%. Santoor was listed as one of the key contributors to the company’s India domestic business growing by 17.3 per cent. 

Santoor competes against HUL brands Dove, Lux, Pears, Liril, and Rexona, Reckitt’s Dettol, Godrej’s Cinthol, and others in the congested Indian soap industry. 

But Santoor doesn’t only advertise itself as a sandalwood and turmeric soap. It is marketed by WCCL as a talcum powder, body wash, body lotion, hand wash, deodorant, and baby care soap. 

Yes, the company’s signature soap is available in a variety of flavours, including almond milk, lime and aloe vera, saffron and sakura extracts from Kashmir, rose water and honey, and glycerine, honey, and almond oil. 

When the brand first debuted in 1985, its advertisements emphasised its components as a selling factor. The words “santoor” and “tur” are derived from sandalwood and turmeric, respectively. This tactic received a lacklustre response. In 1989, FCB Ulka took over management of Santoor’s brand-building duties, and the emphasis shifted to the soap’s benefit for smooth skin. 

Santoor soap advertisements have been formulaic for the longest time—nearly two decades. a radiant young woman, her skin showing her age. A small girl (always a girl) runs towards the woman while screaming, “Mummy, Mummy,” and the male protagonist (Saif Ali Khan in the Hindi language advertising) is horrified. Bring on the well-known jingle. 

It may not be appropriate, in the opinion of Ambi MG Parameswaran, brand consultant and former executive director and CEO of DraftFCB Ulka who worked on the Santoor soap brand from 1994 to 2016, to just credit the Mummy ad campaign for a company’s success 

The brand is successful because it capitalised on customer insight, according to which every woman enjoys looking youthful and delights in being mistaken for someone younger. 

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