Navratna Oil Lite: Transcending gender boundaries

By Neha Kalra , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising
Last updated : June 23, 2008
The new variant, Navratna Lite, is being test marketed in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal before it goes national later this year


Oil entered the Indian market in 1991. Now, the brand is launching a variant, Navratna Oil Lite.

Navratna Oil Lite is currently being tested in two markets, Andhra Pradesh, where the oil was introduced in mid-March, and West Bengal, where it was introduced in mid-April. A TV commercial and two radio spots (titled Kabaddi and Race) aimed at these two markets have been put in place for the oil variant. Both the brand and the communication will be available across the country soon.

The film shows a family of puppets. In the morning, the children and the husband have their own sets of demands. One can see the housewife's stress escalating with all the work that she has to handle alone, everybody tugging at her strings, to pull a piece of her towards them. When she can take no more, she collapses on the floor. The woman is shown applying Navratna Lite, elated to have found a solution to her stress.

A shot from the TVC
Akashneel Dasgupta, group head, copy, Mudra, the agency for the brand, says, "The brief was to make the brand more relevant to women, particularly housewives. The entire challenge was to choreograph human beings as puppets. We did not use actual puppets because we needed expressions, which could only be brought alive through human beings." An interesting fact about the film, Dasgupta points out, is that no special effects of any kind have been used in spite of the speedy movements that were required to be depicted.

The film was shot by Mumbai based Ramesh Deo Productions and directed by Andy Iyer. Other people who have worked on the film are Subhashish Dutta, creative director, and Gautam Ved, copywriter, Mudra. Ullas Chopra, ex-executive creative director, Mudra, was closely involved with the film. Chopra is now executive creative director at Capital Advertising.

Probal Bhattacharya, general manager, Emami Group, says, "Research shows that the mother brand, Navratna, did not appeal to a particular set of people because of its red colour and its strong fragrance. They wanted a more refined and milder cooling experience from an Ayurvedic hair oil. That's why Navratna Lite is a lighter hair oil in terms of sensorials and has a soothing green colour."

Marico and Shalimar are some of the other players in the Indian hair oil market. All three are active in releasing communications from time to time for their brands. Though communication for hair oil usually involves women and is targeted at them, the product itself is used by the entire family.

Navratna is the only brand which has personality traits, DNA and communication that speak to men. It has established its male led communication further with endorsers such as Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Govinda, Chiranjeevi and Sourav Ganguly.

Bhattacharya says the brand saw an opportunity to launch a variant with a feminine touch for the brand, which till date was speaking to the man predominantly.

"Even in the campaign for Navratna Lite, we are not trying to particularly target only women; the proposition remains the same as that of the mother brand, Navratna - that of a stress buster. It's simply about a lighter oil and taking advantage of the situation to let women know that they, too, have a choice," explains Bhattacharya.

Talking about media investments, he says Navratna is amongst the top two spenders in the category. Navratna's marketing budget, including celebrity endorsements, is around Rs 30 crore. Bhattacharya says it is too premature to talk about Navratna Lite because the brand isn't national yet. But considering that the brand is preparing for an all-India launch, he puts a minimum estimate of Rs 15-16 crore, though he will not confirm it.

In the Ayurvedic cool oil market, Navratna has a 55 per cent share, confirms Bhattacharya. Around 15-16 per cent of the market is held by Himgange, another national player, which has a communication strategy in place. Marico's Ayurvedic offering holds 1 per cent, as does Dabur Mahathanda. The rest of the market is held by regional players.

In the overall hair oil category, Bhattacharya says, Navratna, the mother brand, has 10-15 per cent of the market. It is the third largest brand by value, after Parachute and Dabur Amla. Shalimar coconut oil, which ranks fourth, is a Rs 100 crore brand. Dabur Vatika, which comes next, is a Rs 60-80 crore brand, running on Rs 90 crore.

Mudra was brought in as the creative custodian of the brand last year. Prior to that, it was being handled by Publicis Ambience (then Ambience Publicis). The media duties are being handled by Prachaar Communications, a Mumbai based agency.

Apart from the mother brand, Navratna, and the variant, Navratna Lite, Navratna has a second variant, Navratna Extra Thanda. The company also markets Navratna Cool Talc. Navratna Hair Oil, the mother brand, is a Rs 200 crore plus brand today.

First Published : June 23, 2008
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