Namah Chawla

Santoor refreshes brand; retains its 'mummy' ad angle

S Prasanna Rai, vice president – marketing, Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting says that the soap brand's relaunch campaign seeks to be in tune with consumers' aspirations.

“Haldi aur chandan ke gun samaye Santoor… twacha kuch aur nikhare Santoor Santoor....” and one can find themselves humming to the tune of the jingle. There are a few advertising jingles that got stuck in our ears like earworms. The one by Santoor definitely makes it to the list.

Santoor, the flagship brand of Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting, recently announced the relaunch of its classic sandalwood and turmeric soap, ‘Santoor Orange’. The product was launched in 1985. 

Every 3-4 years, the Santoor brand undergoes a change, shares S Prasanna Rai, vice president – marketing, Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting. What is interesting to note is that quite a few changes later, Santoor has still managed to stay true to its roots.

Be it the ‘Mummy’ angle or the attempt to position itself as a soap for younger looking skin, the current relaunch carries forward these original elements of the ‘orange’ soap brand. The relaunch comes with ‘Young Soch’ in order to connect with young consumers. The product upgrade also comes with a new packaging, improved fragrance, and better moisturisation.

Talking about the relaunch, Rai explains that Santoor has always positioned itself as a soap that provides younger looking skin. “Through its recent relaunch campaign, the brand seeks to keep up to date with the aspirations and requirements of the consumers. Tracking the consumer journey is a core part of Wipro’s strategy.”

 S Prasanna Rai
S Prasanna Rai

The brand’s recent consumer surveys reveal that looking young is both a physical and emotional requirement. This is the insight that the brand has tried to capture through the campaign, mentions Rai.

The protagonists of the three ads is a young woman, whose daughter is seen supporting her accomplishments. The ad films attempt to challenge the common perceptions and long held beliefs of what a woman can do, what or who she can be. By thinking as young as she looks, the Santoor woman pushes limits not one step at a time, but by leaps and bounds.

While most brands continue to take different angles and refresh their narratives, Santoor has been able to retain its ‘Mummy’ angle in its new campaign as well. Rai says that this is done to remain consistent with the positioning of younger looking skin. 

Rai says that the brand wants to stay relevant to the contemporary women. Hence, the thought that they are trying to establish with this relaunch is, ‘Look young, think young’.

One may wonder if Santoor's target audience and the way it reaches out to them, has changed over the years, or not. Rai points out that the soap category has a 99% penetration in both urban and rural India. “While e-commerce has seen growth over the past couple of years, the traditional grocery channels still drive the bulk of sales in the soap category.”

When Santoor was launched in 1985, there were a very few players in the market. However, now this segment has become extremely cluttered, with new products and brands being launched almost every other day. Despite the fierce competition and various alternatives available for consumers these days, Santoor continues to do well in India. 

“It was worth over Rs 2,300 crore last year, and we continue to be the number two soap brand in India. Santoor continues to grow well, it should grow at over 16% in the first quarter,” revealed CEO Vineet Agrawal back in July 2022. 

In an earlier converstaion with afaqs!, KV Sridhar (Pops), global chief creative officer, Nihilent Limited & Hypercollective said that one can’t discount the impact the Mummy ad campaign had on Santoor’s fortunes as Santoor’s advertising communication cuts across many generations.

But Pops also feels, "All these years, Santoor has been boringly consistent and still managed to make Rs 2,300 crore. Had the brand been interestingly consistent, imagine how much more it would have made."

As per the company, Santoor is also the leading brand in five markets, namely, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat. According to Rai, “The brands that have a strong foundation as well as a great emotional appeal, help determine their positioning, especially in a well penetrated category.” 

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