Sunit Roy

Aquaguard, Bisleri echo one another; don't spread brand name to category, say both

Halo of success or shadow of dilution? We spot two similar ads by two brands - both leaders of their respective categories.

Who can forget the famous Rin creative from the 1980s with the dialogue - "Jaise har peeli cheez Sona nahi hoti, waise hi har neeli tikiya Rin nahi."

Time and again, leading brands (especially category leaders) get so popular that they become synonymous with the category. At the same time, they get trapped by their own success. The result - 'so-called' popular brands/category leaders' have to spend heavily on marketing campaigns to tell consumers not to be influenced or fooled by 'look-alike' brands. For example, in the 1990s, Coca-Cola launched its Thanda Matlab Coca-Cola campaign starring Aamir Khan. Cut to 2018 - water purifier brand Aquaguard launched its 'Har Water Purifier Aquaguard Nahi Hota' campaign to use the iconic stature of brand Aquaguard and differentiate it from the rest of the players in the category. Bisleri also followed suit with 'Samajhdaar Jaante Hain Har Paani Ki Bottle Bisleri Nahin’.

Aquaguard, Bisleri echo one another; don't spread brand name to category, say both

Aquaguard's latest TVC 'Har RO Aquaguard Nahin Hota', featuring Madhuri Dixit

Once again, Aquaguard is leveraging its status of being synonymous with the category, just like Xerox is to photocopying or Surf is to detergent.

Eureka Forbes, the marketer of Aquaguard, recently launched a TVC under the 'Har Water Purifier Aquaguard Nahi Hota' umbrella. Through this ad, the brand promotes its newest innovation - Aquaguard New Copper Ionic RO - and creates awareness about the benefits of drinking copper-infused water. The ad plays on the generation-gap narrative, showing Madhuri Dixit in a double-role (a youngster and a grandmother) with both characters agreeing with the science-backed belief that copper-infused water is good for health.

Aquaguard, Bisleri echo one another; don't spread brand name to category, say both

Bisleri's recent campaign: 'Har Maa Jaanti Hai Har Paani Ki Bottle Bisleri Nahin'

"Over the past three decades, Eureka Forbes has re-engineered the water purification industry by introducing new technologies and solutions to address changing consumer needs. Through this campaign, we are continuing our crusade to build a more aware and healthier India," says Shashank Sinha, chief transformation officer, Eureka Forbes.

Taproot Dentsu conceptualised and created the multi-media campaign; Bubblewrap Films produced the commercial and Sizil Srivastava directed it. The campaign is now live on television and digital platforms. Going forward, the brand plans to take it pan-India and across other platforms.

Aquaguard, Bisleri echo one another; don't spread brand name to category, say both

Shashank Sinha

"Traditional media for us (TV, Print), continues to hold its ground. At the same time, the growing clout of digital has changed the way we plan our media strategy. The effort is to ensure a 360-degree engagement where both ATL and BTL plays a significant role," opines Sinha.

Before the product was launched, the brand conducted extensive research. It covered 4,500+ consumers across 12 cities/towns in India involving detailed mind-discovery workshops, qualitative surveys and conjoint analysis to understand consumer preferences.

Aquaguard, Bisleri echo one another; don't spread brand name to category, say both
Pallavi Chakravarti

"There was enough consumer work done to indicate that the benefits of copper in drinking water were well known and understood by people. In fact, when the product concept was tested, many consumers were delighted by the fact that an age-old health tip was now getting a technological makeover. It was the confluence of modern and traditional that set the stage for our idea. And to make things interesting, we twisted the Dadi-Poti dynamic," says Pallavi Chakravarti, executive creative director, Taproot Dentsu, Mumbai.

What's in being a leader?

The size of the Electric Water Purification market in India is approximately INR 4,000 crore and it has been growing at 8-12 per cent. The water filter/purifier market in India has some strong players - Kent, TATA Swach, Voltas etc. However, a large part of the market is still unorganised and the industry is expected to see a lot of consolidation, especially at the bottom end. In other words, the current penetration of water purifiers is low and this provides enough headroom for growth across geographies.

From the first water purifier brand to be introduced in India in 1984 to a brand with a recall level of 92 per cent, Aquaguard has come a long way. From being sold only through direct selling channels, Aquaguard products are now available in retail stores and across e-commerce platforms. Today, with over a 59 per cent share of the Electric Water Purification market, Aquaguard has become a leader in the category. In the price-sensitive segment too, Aquaguard has a product offering sold under the brand AquaSure.

“As a brand, we haven’t been the largest advertisers, yet 6 out of every 10 water purifier sold in India is an Aquaguard. Not to forget, the strong backup of the post-sales service network serving over 20 million consumers for years and present in a radius of 5 km in each town of India we work in makes Aquaguard a strong proposition. The years of trust we enjoy with high Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and our unique Omni Channel Approach (sold through Direct Sales + Retail + e-Tail) gives us the largest footprint in the market,” informs Sinha.

Over to Experts

Aquaguard, Bisleri echo one another; don't spread brand name to category, say both

Mythili Chandrasekar

Aquaguard, Bisleri echo one another; don't spread brand name to category, say both

Siddhant Lahiri

Aquaguard, Bisleri echo one another; don't spread brand name to category, say both

Santosh Mutalik

According to Mythili Chandrasekar, a consumer behaviour and brand strategy enthusiast, "'Har Paani Ki Bottle Bisleri Nahin' actually took the competition head-on and showed discerning loyalists rejecting other brands. It was a leader-brand trying to deal with 'Me Too' competitors and wanting to bring back lapsed consumers. However, the 'Har RO Aquaguard Nahin Hota' line is a throwaway as the story is not a comparative or loyalty story and doesn't lead up to the line strongly. It stays in the housewife/kitchen space and is not particularly imaginative. If trying to gain back share, the comparative angle could have been more hard-hitting."

Siddhant Lahiri, head - strategic planning, Rediffusion, believes that it's a classic category creator's problem. "Even Coca Cola had to go out of its way and say that when someone asks for 'Thanda', they mean Coca-Cola, not any other brand. It's a good problem to have."

He adds, "How many times have you asked for a 'Bisleri' at a shop, been handed a different brand and accepted it without batting an eyelid? Why would Bisleri want that? It makes sense, therefore, for the category creator brands to sometimes stand up and voice their originality and authenticity and urge consumers not to accept any other player. The same logic applies to Aquaguard. We all say 'Aquaguard laga lete hain', but are okay with other brands. It's about time the brand tried to position itself as the original and authentic one."

According to Santosh Mutalik, co-founder and chief creative officer, Haapus Creative, Genericisation (when brand names become generic words for a type of product) is a big challenge faced by established brands. "This becomes a bigger issue in a country like India where the literacy level is low. People think - water purifier matlab 'Aquaguard'. Hence, the brand will have to tackle this issue time and again," he says.

As far as execution is concerned, Mutalik believes that Madhuri Dixit alone may not be able to create that magic and that celebrities playing multiple roles have been done before. According to him, the story and storytelling could have been far more interesting since the product support - 'Copper Ionic RO' - seems new and interesting.

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