Shreyas Kulkarni

P&G Vicks to play sandman to sleepless Indians with ZzzQuil Natura gummies

The FMCG company aims to make its sleep supplement aid those plagued with occasional sleeplessness.

If the last decade or two saw the slandering of sleep as the friend of the weak, today shuteye is the toast of the powerful. Without it, the mind and body cannot reach the union it so craves.

Unfortunately, India is not toasting to sleep unless you are one of the 15% who — as per a P&G Health and Kantar report— can get a good night’s sleep. Almost 60% of the 2,236 respondents said they suffer from occasional sleeplessness.

The ZzzQuil India National Sleep Survey, held online in seven cities and the respondents being between 25-55 years of age, only reveals an open secret— India’s unhealthy relationship with sleep.

ZzzQuil is also the first name of Vicks’ sleep supplement which recently made its debut in India. The ZzzQuil Natura is a nutraceutical containing melatonin (which helps you fall asleep fast) blended with Vitamin B6 that lets you wake up without drowsiness.

Vicks, for the Indian market, has added natural chamomile, in strawberry lavender flavour to its sleep supplement.

One’d assume P&G Vicks chose to bring this sleep supplement to India after seeing the results of the survey.

That’s not the case because the survey, held in-between November and December 2022, only confirmed the many internal researches and consumer understanding the FMCG company indulged in over some time.

“The decision was to bring ZzzQuill was already there,” says Sahil Sethi, senior marketing director, P&G Health Care.

The brand wishes to target people who are plagued with occasional sleeplessness and recommended a doctor’s visit to those whose lack of sleep may arise from other and more serious factors.

What is interesting is that 54% of the people suffering from occasional sleeplessness admitted to a more than healthy use of internet browsing and social media.

Sleep aids, for India, are a relatively new phenomenon. The sleep survey revealed only 34% of the respondents were aware of sleep supplement gummies which come in the jar of the ZzzQuil Natural and only 20% of respondents said they’d used a gummy as a sleep supplement.

It is curious to see the brand then use the gummies than a pill or a patch.

Familiarity is what helps consumers buy a product or use a service when they feel apprehensive, in this case, the gummies. Sethi does not agree with this sentiment and says “gummies as a format are enjoyable for consumers”. The trick, he says, is to do with by building awareness of the product.

The brand first plans to build awareness around sleep supplements and then around the product. It faces competition from the likes of Setu, The Himalaya Drug Company, and even mattress brands which claim quick sleep comes to those who use their wares.

And the first execution of this awareness building was a 20-second ad which focused on the benefits of taking a gummy a day — being able to wake up without feeling drowsy.

It is the vitamin B6 which helps reduce tiredness and fatigue. Adding to the ad are two influencer-driven posts from Dhanashree Verma and Nikhil Sharma.

Grey India made the ad.

Sethi says the brand will be visible across a diverse set of media touchpoints and some of which include connected TV, social media, and YouTube.

The reason for diversity is because the “media consumption habits of people are different… certain activities are being planned for 25-40-year-olds and certain activities are being planned for 40-55-year-olds.”

The ZzzQuil Natura, which is available in jars of 10 gummies and 24 gummies are priced at Rs 199 and Rs 449 respectively and are available across online marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, Blinkit, 1MG, and PG Shop, as well as offline modern retail pharmacies.

The sleep supplement is available in other countries in the form of tablets and drops. When asked if they’d make inroads into the Indian market, Sethi was clear that their short-term aim is awareness and nothing else.

Have news to share? Write to us