Ananya Pathak

After deo, wafers and soft drink, a surface disinfectant brand uses the 'no gas' proposition

Lifebuoy launched a 'no gas' surface disinfectant earlier this year and is currently running a TVC for the same. Can it really be the category's USP?

‘No gas chips’, ‘no gas deodorant’, ‘no gas soft drinks’… and many more products with similar claims have been selling in the Indian market for ages. Fogg, the deodorant brand from the house of Vini Cosmetics, has undoubtedly had the highest recall value of any brand associated with the ‘bina gas wala’ claim.

Fogg became the talk of the town during its initial days (2011), with its 'no gas, more spray' tagline. ‘No gas’ meant more spray and, thus, (more) value for money.

Then the Gujarat-based snack brand Balaji Wafers lured customers with 'bina gas wala chips' claim to address the long-standing consumer pain point, i.e., their favourite chips brands were selling them air.

Even ready-to-drink beverage Lipton Ice Tea, in a campaign, claimed that the bottled product has 'no gas', along with 'no artificial flavours' and 'no added colours'.

Now, we have spotted a TVC for Lifebuoy ‘No Gas’ Surface Disinfectant. The Unilever-owned brand introduced the product in August this year, in light of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The 15-second ad claims that the product kills 99.9 per cent of bacteria and germs. It also states that you don't need to wipe this spray once applied anywhere, and it is safe on the skin as well.

Interestingly, many other brands like Savlon, Dettol and Tri-Active launched surface disinfectants around the same time, but none have so far used the ‘no gas’ proposition as the category’s unique selling point.

Also with the Coronavirus pandemic almost nine months old now, the fear around it is gradually fading away. The use of masks, sanitisers, hand washes, disinfectants, etc., is slowly diminishing in our daily lives. In such times, can Lifebuoy set a new selling point for its category?

Jasravee K Chandra, director - brand building, research and innovation, Master Sun, the consulting brand of Adiva (has worked with Lifebuoy in her career), says, “Since staying locked down in one’s home is no longer an option, one has to step out with one’s street parked vehicle, or allow parcels/packages into one’s home. A disinfectant spray, in such cases, can be considered a quick and convenient solution for surfaces that can’t be cleaned with soap and water.”

“At the same time, a disinfectant spray is also known to have strong toxic properties and can deter savvy consumers from picking it up. Hence a ‘no gas’ proposition by a brand like Lifebuoy can be a relevant differentiator for people considering a spray format (to wipes or other formats) for disinfecting surfaces.”

Jasravee Chandra
Jasravee Chandra

According to her, there can be two aspects to this. One, more value for money. The spray would not easily vaporise and linger on the surface, which essentially means it will work harder and last longer. Fogg has educated the market adequately on this issue. Also, this may succeed in nullifying the fact that though handy, Lifebuoy SKU is priced at a premium to that of Dettol’s.

Two, targeted impact. The fact that the disinfectant does not appear to fly around could signal to the consumer that they can expect lesser inadvertent inhalation. Also, this could potentially be less harmful to the environment. (Although, Lifebuoy makes a special claim about being safe on the skin.)

Anisha Motwani, founder of STORM and NORM Venture (a tech platform for business content), and an independent brand, digital and innovation consultant, says the brand is only using ‘no gas’ in its name and is not taking it forward in its communication. “In the communication, it is talking about the efficacy of the product and its effectiveness to kill germs.”

Anisha Motwani
Anisha Motwani

“For me, it’s neither here, nor there. Until it was pointed out to me, I did not even bother that it is a no gas product. And that’s probably because a strong feel for it wasn’t felt,” she adds.

Motwani elaborates that in case of a deo, when the product is used on the skin, the gas can be felt. The ‘no gas’ proposition, therefore, was born out of personal experience. However, in the case of disinfectant that is used on a foreign surface, you can easily see moisture when the product is used.

“So far, I don’t think the consumers have experienced this as a pain point that needed to be addressed. If it was that serious, the brand would have taken it forward in its communication,” she signs off.

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