Ubaid Zargar

Harpic and Akshay Kumar take on brand impersonators in this new ad film

The brand is throwing shade at competitors who offer lower prices for ‘lower quality'.

In the toilet and floor cleaner category, it is common to see brands flash their BOGO (buy one get one) offers at discounted prices. What is also common, however, is brands emulating the image and likeness of Harpic to attract consumers. 

In a new ad film, Harpic is taking a dig at its competitors who offer cheaper offers while impersonating the brand in their packaging and design. Akshay Kumar, who is the face of the brand is getting the message across. 

In the ad film, a woman hears her doorbell and is disappointed to see a duplicate Akshay Kumar at her doorstep. The real Akshay Kumar then steps in and asks her why she allows duplicate Harpics in her household, a parallel between the celebrity and the brand itself. 

The woman’s response is simple- the unnamed brand offers one free bottle of toilet cleaner with a purchase. This is instantly refuted by Akshay Kumar with the idea that the duplicates require more quantity to do as good a job at cleaning.

Akshay Kumar joined Harpic as the brand ambassador in 2018. Since then, the celebrity has done multiple campaigns for the brand. Just a few months ago, the actor was seen plugging an all-new ‘Harpic 10x Max Clean’  with a ‘new formula’. 

The actor was seen playing his real self in the ad film, willing to bet his career on Harpic being the best in business.

In the latest ad film, the toilet cleaners shown are the depiction of many players in the category trying to emulate Harpic, to leverage some of its market dominance. Although ethically questionable, the practice is rampant in all categories, especially the ones where a single player dominates the space.

Harpic enjoys a comfortable lead in the toilet cleaners category in India. As per a report published by The Times of India in 2021, the Reckitt-owned brand registered a market share of nearly 77% in India, while its closest competitor Domex only clocked a 7% share of the total market. 

In 2022, the brand locked horns with HUL’s Domex over an ad film from the latter which Harpic deemed was inappropriate on the grounds of being comparative advertising. The Delhi High Court found itself at the forefront of a battle between two behemoths.

The court decision, rendered by the division bench of Justices Vibhu Bakhru and Amit Mahajan, delivered a blow to HUL's advertising strategy by restraining the company from airing a contentious Domex TV commercial. The commercial in question had ignited controversy by boldly asserting the superiority of Domex over its rival, Harpic, owned by Reckitt Benckiser.

At the heart of the legal tussle was Reckitt's contention that the Domex advertisement unfairly disparaged and denigrated its product, Harpic. The appellant, Reckitt, sought recourse from the High Court after a single judge had previously declined to grant an injunction against HUL's broadcast of the contentious commercial.

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