Aishwarya Ramesh

Do gadgets need special sanitiser? CavinKare's Bacto-V ads make a case

In the ads, hand sanitiser becomes the enemy while disinfecting gadgets, prompting users to utilise the spray instead.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has disrupted human lives in ways both large and small. In April, CavinKare announced the launch of a disinfectant brand Bacto-V. The name Bacto-V is the short form of the phrase ’Bacteria to Viruses’, and claims to kill 99.9 per cent of bacteria and viruses. Recently, a TVC was launched to communicate its benefits.

At the time of the launch, Venkatesh Vijayaraghavan, director and chief executive officer – personal care and alliances, CavinKare, explained that the new brand Bacto-V was launching two new products under its umbrella – Gadget Disinfectant for gadgets and Surface Disinfectant for disinfecting multiple surfaces.

Vijayaraghavan added that Bacto-V Gadget Disinfectant, CavinKare’s flagship product, is one of the first launches by a major player in India in gadget sanitising category. It has been specially formulated for disinfecting expensive gadgets.

Venkatesh Vijayaraghavan
Venkatesh Vijayaraghavan

In a press release, the company explained that gadget surfaces, in general, can be dirtier than any other surfaces. In today’s smart world, gadgets and, more importantly, mobile phones travel with people everywhere, from workstations to bathrooms to kitchens and shops.

In addition to phones, families are constantly in touch with gadgets, including laptops, TV remotes, gaming devices, toys and other electronics, for a major part of the day. This makes gadget surfaces a dangerous source of germs for families. The note adds that this is why Bacto-V Gadget Disinfectant was designed to exclusively disinfect gadgets.

Shortly after the product was launched, CavinKare released an 'informational' TVC, which explained the product, its use cases and relevance.

In the launch note, CavinKare added that in addition to personal gadgets, disinfecting touchable surfaces is also the need-of-the-hour than just cleaning. The viruses and other germs can stay for long hours on surfaces like metal, glass, door knobs and even car interiors, and can cause infections.

The release points out that many consumers use cleaning agents on these surfaces and equate clean bright looking surfaces as being safe, but it will not help fight viruses and bacteria. The product claims it has a ‘No Wipe’ formula and, hence, Bacto-V Multi Surface Disinfectant claims to kill up to 99.99 per cent of germs on any hard surface instantly.

“All of a sudden, this pandemic has shown us the importance of cleaning and disinfecting in day-to-day life in order to reduce the spread of illness. We felt that the launch of Bacto-V is a logical extension to our already launched sanitisers in our fight against COVID. Our nationwide distribution network and online presence will ensure timely reach of Bacto-V for families across the country,” said Vijayaraghavan.

Expert opinion

Anand Murty, executive vice president, strategy, Dentsu One and Taproot Dentsu, Gurgaon, mentions that in the early 2000s, the penetration of sanitation-related products and categories, even in urban India, was very low.

Various research studies, U&As and more revealed that consumers often conflated ‘keetanu’ (the Hindi term popularly used to describe germs) with dirt. He explains that the absence of visible dirt – for many – meant a clean and sanitised environment.

“Over the years, government drives – with emphasis on sanitation and personal hygiene – have also encouraged a greater awareness and action around handwashing, hygienic toilet practices and more. The gradual opening up of conversations on feminine hygiene have led to various products and categories for women and men. So one sees various strands – a push by governments, cultural and social trends, technological platforms that make it easier to have more nuanced conversations – coming together to give rise to many more possibilities for the sanitation category as a whole,” says Murty.

He acknowledges that nothing has accelerated trends across industries and categories like COVID, and that the pandemic has led to huge and instant shifts in micro-rituals and traditions.

“Touch, air and the basics of human interaction one took for granted have now become potential life and death risks. The risk of contracting a potentially fatal disease has led to a tectonic shift in how people see sanitation and hygiene,” he says.

Anand Murty
Anand Murty

Murty adds that due to the Coronavirus, there’s a much greater awareness of what a virus is and what it can do, what the ideal protective gear should be like, what percentage of alcohol works and what does not, the surfaces one comes in contact with that are possible sources of contamination, etc.

“Needless to say, this collective awareness and anxiety has led to an exponential increase in the nuances and possibilities various brands and products in the category can leverage,” he says.

Murty’s caveat in this situation is that marketers ought to ideally steer clear of gearing ‘solutions’ that only increase/exploit anxiety levels and, instead, focus on areas where they can be of genuine service to the consumer at large.

Reviewing the newly released ad, he opines that the communication is straightforward in its messaging and purpose at making people switch to a ‘more superior’ alternative.

According to Murty, the ad is clearly aimed at garnering share from a base of consumers, who already are in the habit of sanitising their gadgets, what with COVID and other narratives establishing device surfaces as being particularly nasty places to find germs and more.

“It would seem the brand intends to position itself as an expert and a more knowledgeable solution to a given problem, thereby intending to gain a preference edge,” he signs off.

Bacto-V Gadget Disinfectant and Bacto-V Multi Surface Disinfectant will be available to consumers across various channels – kirana stores, modern trade and e-commerce platforms. Bacto-V Multi Surface Disinfectant Spray is available in 180 ml (SKU) for Rs 120 and 250 ml (Rs 165). Bacto-V Gadget Disinfectant is available in 100 ml for Rs 249.