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ISSUES IN SHAMPOO ADVERTISING

The ideas, associations and images that people have of a shampoo brand determine the demand side of the brand equity equation. There are two ways in which advertising is likely to influence perceived product performance. First, by guiding the expectations about the shampoo experience - process called product enhancement and second, by creating a halo of superiority around the brand via a mechanic termed “ Interest – Status”. There are two key advertising related factors. First, the advertisement needs to be remembered. This is important because its main influence is at the point of trial. Second, the message should relate in some way to the experience of ‘using’ the product - for instance, does it create any expectation of what the shampoo would “ feel like to your hair”  i.e., how will it take care of your hair and especially to your specifications. But the advertiser should always bear in mind that the benefits proclaimed are in line with what the product can actually deliver.

Brands can have perceived advantages which are unrelated to the physical or sensual aspects of the product delivery and relate more with the emotional appeal of the brand and the sense of belonging which comes from being a buyer of the brand. In many respects this is an extension of the brand presence, except that the presence is converted into a relevant advantage only if it fits with the consumer’s emotional needs i.e. making a brand worthy of its price tag.

Is advertising in Shampoo market ethical ? In a profession where the task of advertisers is to suspend the consumer’s disbelief, there cannot be a possibly straight answer. “ Use of Shampoo does not impair or damage hair”, “ Soaps make your dry, lifeless and lusterless”, are the statements we hear in shampoo advertisements. Research has proved that the consumer is quite willing to suspend his disbelief and appreciate the hyperbole for what it is worth. The consumer perfectly understands that  this is a mere exaggeration to make a point.

However, this issue becomes murkier when there is an obvious attempt to mislead the consumer into believing that the product delivers a benefit that is actually not. This, by  any sensible definition, is definitely unethical. But exaggeration is an aspect of advertising. When does it become misleading ? Is Sunsilk or Organics which use filmstars or very well known high strata celebrities who probably never touch an Indian Shampoo, ethical ?

To my mind, is there anything unethical about these advertisements. The role of advertising is to extol the real or perceived virtues of a product. And just like there is a poetic license, there is a certain advertising license that the consumer is willing to grant within limits.

There is a distinct segment of population who actively seek to avoid advertising. These people view as few as half the commercials seen by non - evaders. They expect ad - breaks to contain boring and irrelevant material and have thus developed strategies of avoidance.

Inconveniently for advertisers, evaders are not contained within any one demographic segment but are likely to be the smartest people within their group and crucially, tend to be the people with the lowest price sensitivity, those who should be most susceptible to brand messages.

The research offers a worrying glimpse of the future. People are more likely to be evaders if they have satellite or cable. But all is not lost. Evaders do not respond to distinctive, relevant and original advertising that catches them at the right time. Lord Leverhulme’s statement that only half the money he spent on advertising was wasted, is beginning to look blithely optimistic.

The real issue is creativity. What type of advertisements prevent evaders from avoiding. There is a strong correlation between likeability and awareness. More likeable ads are more effective at generating awareness. Ads should be enjoyable, to help brands build bonds with consumers. Individual advertisers and agencies must identify and understand the motivation of ad evaders and tailor their creative and media solutions accordingly.

Planners must attempt to get psychological insights into the consumer  that goes beyond number - crunching. There are qualitative differences in how people use and relate to media and these have enormous implications on media strategies. There is a hypothesis that the recall of brands would be higher  if they were advertised on programmes that enjoyed higher level of viewers.


 

SCENARIO OF THE INDIAN SHAMPOO MARKET

“X” shampoo has keratin treatment, “Y” shampoo has total nourishment while “Z” shampoo rebuilds your damaged hair and control dandruff. Aggressive marketing and media blitz has made it a frothy year for shampoo marketers. In one of the most remarkable demonstrations of acceleration, the shampoo market, after creeping up at an average rate of 6 % per annum between 1992 and 1994 and, climbing to 9.55 % in 1995, suddenly raced up to 18.77 % in 1996. In 1997 it went up to 35 %  Making the hair flow, and flow and flow, were the unique strategies for generating growth adopted by the three principal players in the shampoo market. A flurry of new launches which saw the introduction of 32 new brands, five brand extensions, 100 new variants, and 122 new pack - sizes, adding up to an unparalleled excitement in what was till then a - one - kind - fits - all product category. So long as it was a generic, generalized - benefits product whose primary value, was that it cleaned hair, no shampoo brand had the loyal following. With a broad swath of appeal, brand USPs were not sufficiently differentiated from one another for any of them to crave out a committed niche.

Also, the limited repertoire of benefits acted as a deterrent to frequent usage and hence growth. The shampoo - marketers fragmented a once homogeneous market furiously, pegging a unique differentiated benefit to each brand and line - extension so as to build a clearly defined segment of users for each. While this helped each brand build a franchise, it served the more important function of giving every user a definite, focused reason to use a particular brand.

The consumer has got used to the idea of using only that brand of shampoo that suits his or her hair the best. this was achieved by launching a series of new brands, as well as repositioning old ones, to peg each to a distinctive benefits. So, Levers rolled out  Sunsilk Nutracare (the proposition : hair root nourishment), Sunsilk Ceramides (the proposition : repair damaged hair), Organics (the proposition : hair root nourishment), Organics dandruff treatment (the proposition : hair root nourishment with anti - dandruff treatment), Clinic active (the proposition : presence of pro - vitamin B5), Clinic All Clear with ZPTO (the proposition : control of dandruff - causing microbes, scalp moisturizer, and reduced scalp itch ), and Lux Super Rich (the proposition : inclusion of hair moisturiser ) to join Clinic Plus and Sun Silk.

P&G joined the fray with Pantene Pro - V (the proposition : nourishment of hair from root to tip), Pantene Pro-V Extra shampoo - and Oriflame’s conditioning shampoo..  Through new brand launches companies generated constant excitement to keep interest in the product alive. Even as segmentation offered new value propositions to shampoo users, the marketers baked up that menu with multiple price points, creating several VFM equations. And because they were targeting growth, they cannily priced every new product at a discount to a comparable one while holding out a promise of either matching or greater value. There was also a large successive cut in the excise duty on shampoos : from 120 % in 1994 to 70% in 1995, 40 % in 1996, and 30 % in 1997.  Also in India customers are inordinately sensitive to price. There is always a large number of potential customers waiting to buy your product as soon as it becomes affordable. 

 

THE HIERARCHY OF USAGE

SPECIAL STYLING

SHAMPOOS : NONE SO FAR.

BRANDS EXPECTED :

VIDAL SASOON FROM P&G.

 

3rd GENERATION SHAMPOOS : SUPPOSED TO

PENETRATE THE SKIN AND NOURISH THE HAIR ROOTS.

e.g.. PANTENE, ORGANICS, OPTIMA.

 

2nd GENERATION SHAMPOOS : APART FROM CLEANING,

THEY ALSO CONDITION THE HAIR.

LEAD BRANDS : CLINIC, SUNSILK AND HALO.

 

1st GENERATION SHAMPOOS : ONLY SUPPOSED TO CLEAN THE HAIR STUFF. INCLUDES HERBAL BRANDS LIKE NYLE AND AYUR

   NATURAL PRODUCTS : SHIKAKAI, AMLA, HENNA, REETHA, etc.

SHIKAKAI SOAPS : SWASTIK, GODREJ, WIPRO etc.

 

 

ORG - MARG ANALYSIS

Although segmentation offered new value propositions to the shampoo users -- differential pricing also created several Value for Money (VFM) equations. A  promise for greater value or matching benefits at price discounts for every new product gained momentum. 

In INDIA customers are sensitive to price. There is always a large number of  potential buyers to purchase the product as soon as it becomes affordable.

 

THE MARKET SHARES 

                             BRANDS                                                   SHARE (%)

                            Sunsilk                                                           20

                            Clinic                                                             25

                            Organics                                                      5.5

                            Pantene                                                         11

                            Halo                                                               3.4

                            Optima                                                          3.6

                            Lakme                                                           1

                            Ultra Doux                                                     1.2

                            Flex                                                                0.7

                            Others                                                            28.6

Promoting the shampoo brands poses another challenge for the marketers, resulting in high adv. spends and media spends. P&G spent 8  crores on advertising Pantene on TV in the first four months of its launch. HLL’s estimated advertising expenditure for each new shampoo launch was between Rs.4 crores and 6 crores in the introductory phase. The ad-to - sales ratio of the companies have shown remarkable jump from 10 % to 20 % compared to the average of 5 % for most product categories. 

One of the biggest barriers to shampoo usage is the consumer perception that it harms the hair. Thus companies are focusing  on defending the product against accusations by promoting the strength, nourishment and beauty of the hair - ‘The 3 - in -1 Capsule ‘for ultimate hair. Companies are still associating it with modern life styles to find acceptance in semi - urban and rural non-users to build and enlarge shampoo usage levels. Thus companies will have to mould new consumers usage patterns to its own benefit, to have a competitive advantage and stay out there in the longer run with a respectable market share.

A  market segment   consists of a large identifiable group within a market. A company that practices segment marketing recognizes that buyers differ in their wants, purchasing power, geographical locations, buying attitudes, and buying habits. Because buyers have unique needs and wants, each buyer is potentially a separate market. Ideally, then, a seller  might design  a separate marketing  program  for each buyer, though no company is willing to customize its offer \ communication bundle to each individual customer. The company  instead tries to isolate some broad segments that make up a market.

Two broad groups of variables are used to  segment consumer markets. Some researchers try to form segments by looking at  consumer responses to benefits sought, use occasions or brands. Other researchers try to form segments by looking at consumer characteristics. They commonly use Geographic, Demographic or Psychographic characteristics.

 

Find the next chapter ............... OBJECTIVES, RESEARCH, SCOPE, LIMITATIONS, KEY FINDINGS, BRAND IMAGE RECOMMENDATIONS & conclusions

Find the Previous chapter of Project Report ............... Consumer Behaviour towards Shampoo Industry


 

 



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