Aishwarya Ramesh
Advertising

After 50 years in the market, Medimix wants to make Ayurveda work faster

Medimix's new TVC with Parineeti Chopra looks to tap into a new TG with 'fast acting ayurveda'.

Imagine a serene forest, a fresh waterfall, a lush meadow, the rustle of pages of an old book... An ad film containing these elements isn't trying to sell you an exotic vacation - they're probably advertising for an Ayurvedic product. In India, one of the prominent brands in this segment recently turned 50. Medimix originated as a skin care brand in 1969 in the kitchen of Dr VP Sidhan, an Ayurveda practitioner, employed with the Indian Railways. Since the brand is turning 50 this year, they have announced efforts to revamp their product offering and reposition the brand.

After 50 years in the market, Medimix wants to make Ayurveda work faster

Ashish Ohlyan

We spoke to Ashish Ohlyan, head of marketing and new product development at Cholayil private limited - the parent company of Medimix. We asked him why the brand chose to reposition itself at this juncture and he answered - "When it comes to the positioning, we were getting lost in the sea of natural, herbal and ayurvedic skincare brands. We compete with beauty brands such as Lux and Santoor and also with brands in the health and hygiene segment such as Dettol and Lifebuoy who have also introduced natural ingredients into their products. We had lots of discussions with consumers to figure out their needs and how can we fill this need gap."

After 50 years in the market, Medimix wants to make Ayurveda work faster

Parineeti Chopra is Medimix's new brand ambassador

We asked them about the research that went into zeroing in on the insight about fast acting Ayurveda that is the central focus of their newest campaign. Ohlayan told us that during discussions with consumers, the brand found that people perceive old Indian practices like Ayurveda and homeopathy as slow. He also mentioned that the brand conducted focus group discussions before repositioning themselves to find out how the consumers would perceive them. He went on to explain that people still use natural ingredients like besan, aloe vera to get results so he asked us - "If Ayurvedic ingredients are fast then how can Ayurveda itself be slow?"

After 50 years in the market, Medimix wants to make Ayurveda work faster

A vintage ad for Medimix
Click on the image to enlarge

He also emphasised on the fact that the brand has been established in the curative domain and the communication over the past years has been about keeping pimples and skin infections away. "We will focus on establishing our new positioning and benefit. We have also roped in Parineeti Chopra, national award winner as the face of the brand and we have upped our media spends significantly," he told us. He gave us an approximate breakup of Medimix's media spends - 80 per cent on TV, approximately 10-12 per cent on digital and the rest on OOH advertising.

After 50 years in the market, Medimix wants to make Ayurveda work faster

A vintage ad for Medimix

He went on to talk about the media spends in detail - "Our key markets are Maharashtra and the North Indian belt. In India, you can't ignore TV. Despite digital media coming up in a big way, TV still remains the biggest reach driver. Also the cost of reach is much lesser than digital media. However, since we are targeting millennials, we can't stay away from digital media. We have started investing in digital and increased our spending on this medium significantly. Digital, which used to be 2-3 per cent of our total media budget, will get a double digit pie going forward."

After 50 years in the market, Medimix wants to make Ayurveda work faster

A Medimix ad with music by AR Rahman

He explained that millennials might not be the front face of the purchase but in households, they have a big say in the brands and products purchased. He went on to tell us that millennials account for 44 per cent of Medimix's total consumption. "Millennials today demand authentic products. Right from organic food to natural skin care products to original Netflix content - it's a result of their demand. Till few years back no one could have imagined start-ups in FMCG space. But now start-ups are giving a big fight to big FMCG companies. They are looking for choices which answer their needs. We have an existing loyal consumer base and it is imperative to get millennials in our loyal base for next round of growth," he said.

After 50 years in the market, Medimix wants to make Ayurveda work faster

KS Chakravarthy

We asked two industry veterans about marketing ayurvedic products and specifically about Medimix and their recent TVC. Adman KS Chakravarthy, co-founder of Tidal7 Brand & Digital found the ad confused and unfocussed. "Medimix historically was a problem solution kind of soap. It was a very strong soap in the South when I was growing up. People who had a skin problems genuinely believed and swore by Medimix. It became a very yucky soap because of the strong medical association - that's not very good for a soap brand."

He pointed out that soap is like a ritual and once a user is habituated to it, they won't change no matter what. "Nobody says tomorrow I have a party, let me buy a new soap. It works only as a ritual on a long term basis. They're trying to be relevant and they're trying to find a way to do that. The issue is not that they're targeting millennials. The problem is that they're not clear in what they're trying to say. Why do I need fast Ayurveda in soap? I understand a pimple cream having fast acting Ayurveda but in soap - it doesn't make sense. Changing the look and feel of a product is not going to help because this is a category where you need to be clear about what you stand for," he said.

"Soap at one point was a women's cosmetic. Now, everyone uses cold cream and various things. I don't even know where soap finds a place in a beauty routine," He told us. He also spoke about other strong players in the segment and pointed out that Hamam was unshakeable for a very long time. "Chandrika always emphasizes on being an Ayurvedic soap. Santoor is another soap that has always worked with the promise of young-looking skin with natural ingredients. Medimix does not know what it's been doing for a very long time."

After 50 years in the market, Medimix wants to make Ayurveda work faster

Prabha Prabhu

Prabha Prabhu, ex-CEO of Madison World believes the ad and the campaign will work. She spoke about the relaunch of Cinthol in the 1980s in a new packaging with ads with Vinod Khanna and told us it was a roaring success. ""When your market changes and when the consumer changes, you need to change with them," she said, matter-of-factly.

We asked her about millennials as a segment and she pointed out that they have strong preferences and want more healthy things. "They want natural, organic, ayurvedic products. That's why you're seeing so many products coming out with these ingredients. We all know what Ayurveda means - it's understood over the years thanks to the imagery - of the forest, the herbs, the pages of the book turning etc. But the general view of ayurvedic products is that they don't work fast. Here, you're talking about fast acting Ayurveda. I don't know if there is reason to believe that this is enough. The challenge is to promote it correctly to the right target audience," She tells us. She pointed out that Medimix is doing a good thing by using a celebrity to endorse the brand because that works well in India.