long years, Anne French never adopted an aggressive marketing strategy. Its ad campaigns were based on the concept of smooth skin. Even its last campaign, released a year and a half ago, focused only on the new tube packaging.
Industry observers attribute this slow paced marketing effort to the fact that the brand faced almost no competition in the depilatory cream segment.
Anne French controlled a majority share in the Indian market. So much so that the brand never had a brand ambassador, except for the few known faces who featured in its ad campaigns. Lesser known celebrities such as Deepti Bhatnagar, Vidya Malvade and Tulip Joshi have promoted the brand.
But with the entry of new player Veet in the market, the ride was no longer smooth for Anne French. Veet hired Katrina Kaif to endorse it. As the popularity of Katrina Kaif began to rise with each film she did, the brand Veet also became larger. It started giving tough competition to Anne French.
Wyeth, the pharma company which owns Anne French, has now launched a new campaign with a new positioning, 'Beautiful Skin', featuring Kareena Kapoor, who was brought in as the face of the brand a few months ago.
According to industry estimates, the company has doubled its advertising budget from the Rs 4-5 crore it had allotted in 2007. To get Kapoor on board, the company had to shell out a whopping Rs 2 crore.
Industry observers see this as a reactionary step by Wyeth. Wyeth executives, however, deny that.
An industry insider says, "Wyeth wanted a face and a name which would be stronger or on par with Katrina Kaif. That is how it zeroed in on Kareena Kapoor."
Gulraj Bhatia, country head, Wyeth, explains the rationale behind choosing Kareena Kapoor, "The youth today look up to role models. Kareena Kapoor is undoubtedly one of the most successful female role models today. In a sense, she is the perfect role model for any brand that depends on new and young users to grow."
Kapoor, with her rising popularity for her zero dress size, is expected to help the brand. In fact, in the latest TV commercial, Kapoor flaunts her skin, as in her latest film, Tashan.
The TVC shows girls who begin to cover their arms and legs on seeing Kapoor. Kapoor, dressed in skin revealing clothes, much like her attire in Tashan, walks confidently past the embarrassed girls. The TVC ends with Kapoor declaring, "Beautiful skin is in."
Brijesh Jacob, executive creative director, Grey India, says, "Clothes now show more skin and, hence, the necessity to have hairless arms and legs."
He adds, "The earlier positioning, which also referred to smooth and beautiful skin, was very generic. All other creams in the segment made the same promise. With the new positioning, we make a statement which can be owned by the brand."