Saumya Tewari

Veet: Razors are for boys

Reckitt Benckiser India brings a fresh face (actor Shraddha Kapoor) and an anti-razor brand positioning in its latest campaign for Veet.

Taking a break from its 'soft and supple' positioning, Reckitt Benckiser India's hair removal cream brand, Veet, attacks razors in its new campaign featuring actor Shraddha Kapoor. Pink and bubble-gummy, the ad is targeted at 16-year old young girls entering the category and trying different methods of hair removal.

"Ouch, ouch, ouch!" cries a young girl trying to shave her leg, in the beginning of the TVC. To this, Kapoor sings "You're not a boy and that's not a toy, so why this razor?" The ad goes on to state that razors are meant for boys who have beards, stubbles and moustaches, but for women, the solution for hair removal is Veet. The ad ends with the tagline 'Don't shave it, just Veet it'.

Veet: Razors are for boys
Veet: Razors are for boys
Veet: Razors are for boys
Nitish Kapoor, managing director, Reckitt Benckiser India, says, "As per Target Group Index (TGI), one out of every four women who depilate at home is likely to use a razor. Women also tend to experiment with more than one format for hair depilation requirements, based on their needs i.e. body parts, convenience etc. Our aim is to educate the young consumers entering the category about the benefits of using Veet over other hair removal formats."

While hair removal creams hinge their proposition on 'convenience' vis-à-vis tedious formats like waxing, there are several alleged side-effects attached to using hair removal creams, like skin darkening and excess of chemicals.

Kapoor justifies that Veet products are tested under dermatological conditions and are accredited by the British Skin Foundation. "As a brand, we ensure we are addressing category myths and barriers. For instance, last year, we had introduced Veet Naturals which was enriched with 100 per cent natural extracts instead of chemicals," he says.

Veet entered the Indian market in 2004, when Anne French (Wyeth Consumer Healthcare) was a category leader.

"Before we launched Veet, the market size for hair removers was a mere Rs 50 crore, and, today, it stands at Rs 565 crore. The industry, then, was flooded with products which lacked innovation," recalls Kapoor, adding that their innovative product offerings have driven the category growth for the last 10 years.

The company currently offers Veet hair removal cream in three variants - Normal, Dry and Sensitive Skin in 25, 60 and 100 grams SKUs, priced between Rs 55 - 110. The ready-to-use wax strips are also available in the three variants priced at Rs 80. The Veet Naturals range is available in 25 and 60 gram SKUs, priced at Rs 55 and Rs 110, respectively. The prepubescence range is also available in 25 and 60 gram SKUs, priced at Rs 60 and Rs 95, respectively.

The biggest marketing challenge for the company, however, is to increase the penetration for hair removal category in the country, where almost 45 per cent women do not use any form of depilation.

Veet is available in more than 50 countries worldwide. In India, it competes with brands like Anne French, Dabur-owned Fem and Feather Touch owned by Vi-John.

Veet: Razors are for boys
Sohini Dasgupta, director, Big Momma Productions, who executed the campaign says that more often than not, young girls simply accept shaving as the default means of body hair removal. The prickliness and itchiness are things they assume they have to live with.

"With this Veet campaign, we've targeted girls who are in the process of forming such habits. We want to simply tell them that Veet is a better alternative to shaving," she says.

Apart from television, the campaign is being promoted in print and digital (#Justified).

Headquartered in UK, Singapore, Dubai and Amsterdam, Reckitt Benckiser is a consumer health and hygiene company with operations in over 60 countries and sales in almost 200 countries. The company employs approximately 37,000 people worldwide.

Expert Take

Our experts were clearly divided on their opinions about the TVC.

Veet: Razors are for boys
Veet: Razors are for boys
Applauding the 'freshness' quotient and the choice of celebrity, Jagdeep Kapoor, CMD, Samsika Marketing Consultants, says that the ad marks a strategic attempt for a 'switch ' in the category from 'Shave it to Veet it'. The commercial gives a special status to female grooming and differentiates it from male grooming.

"The 'bubble stubble ' kind of word play along with 'pokey' helps highlight the difference and makes it gentle and feminine. The 'moustache' symbolic usage also helps," he notes.

He suggests that the best way to build a beauty brand is to highlight the experience, not only the result but also the stages of using the brand.

For Jayanto Banerjee, national planning director, Hakuhodo Percept, the commercial tries hard to appeal to the young. "Too many brands have done the whole 60's-bubble-gummy look in the recent past, starting with Vespa. I hope it still appeals to the target 16-year old," he says.

To Banerjee it seems like an ad that is singing out the brief as the presentation lacks in creative idea.

Unlike the US, he notes, India has never been a 'shaving' market for women. "Unless research has suddenly thrown up something drastically new, I do not know if comparing with men's razors is even relevant," he opines.