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Dettol launches Dettol Co-Created with Moms with a largest-ever marketing push

“The marketing campaign has been very different versus the base brand Dettol. And as we move forward, we would continue the marketing, trade, as well as the innovation pipeline on this, which should, I dare say, continue to surprise,” says Pankaj Duhan, Chief Marketing Officer, RB South Asia Health

Pankaj Duhan with Tisca Chopra at the Dettol event

Dettol, one of the leading germ protection brands in the country, on Monday announced the launch of Dettol Co-Created with Moms, a range of bathing soaps and hand washes, designed keeping consumer preferences in mind. 

With this announcement, Dettol has developed an entirely new space, with a range of products that have ingredients approved by moms while continuing to deliver Dettol’s trusted protection. This is a unique innovation with products that are free from any parabens, dyes and talc, giving mothers exactly what they want.


Speaking about the advertising and marketing strategy for this new range, in an exclusive chat with, Pankaj Duhan, Chief Marketing Officer, RB South Asia Health, said, “This is a very distinctive proposition from Dettol. This is, I dare say, not something that you expect out of Dettol.”

The range was launched in a mystery campaign which was unbranded to start off with, June 3 onwards. And slowly it reveals the brand. There was a teaser campaign on TV as well as on digital, but a lot of thrusts was on the digital side. There were four teaser films, not revealing the brand. These started from June 3, 2019, and went on till June 10, 2019.


The brand was revealed at a press conference on Monday, and the TVC has also been launched for the same.

Talking about the success of the teaser campaign, Duhan said, “Tremendous responses, because we never expected this to get into the reach numbers of millions, and conversations that are also in millions. Significant reach, lots of interest, lots of buzz, lots of talkability that has happened on the brand.”

With regard to the media utilised to promote the brand, it is being advertised on TV, digital, print and outdoor as well. The mystery unbranded campaigns were placed in many locations.

The first phase, the mystery campaign - has been done by QED Communications. The second and current phase of the campaign, as also the future phases of the campaign - those have been worked on with McCann.

However, looking at the packaging of Dettol Co-Created with Moms, one can’t help but decipher that the packaging of the hand wash and soap, both, resemble the original Dettol brand. Talking about this, Duhan pointed out, “I didn’t want to get pre-empted. Because what happens in these things is that tomorrow another company might claim it to be their brand, and they haven’t done any of the hard work or the research. But I also wanted this to leverage back to the brand, but not necessarily in a completely open way. You need to cue back to the brand, so that’s what we did. A fantastic success, people guessed the brand - even before the brand was revealed, there was a fair share guessing on Dettol.”

Discussing the execution of the ads, too, Duhan specified that the look, feel and tonality is a little different from usual Dettol ads - that is deliberate.

“When you have a proposition that is so distinct and different versus your base brand, sometimes you need the power of surprising to drive the believability. So that is what we are trying to do here - which is to get people to be surprised by Dettol as a brand. But when they actually go back, and in hindsight when they look at it, it is the perfect proposition to come from Dettol. That’s the intention of the mystery campaign,” he added.

What about the market differentiation of Dettol Co-Created with Moms as compared to Dettol? “I think less from a market point of view and more from a consumer point of view. Dettol is a very strong brand. And the one thing that stands out about Dettol all the time is about superior germ protection. So, if it is germ protection, then it is always Dettol that comes on as number one. That does not change,” Duhan reminded.

He further added, “So, this launch caters to that group of people that is wanting the same germ protection - but at the same time also want to be selective about the ingredients that they use. And those are typically the millennial moms.”

So, in that sense, when Duhan spoke about differentiation - the differentiation is, therefore, from a consumer perspective versus from a geography perspective. “Then, when you go back to the consumer perspective, which is why the launch plan is done in a very different way versus a base brand launch plan that we would do,” he said.

The brand was launched digitally - lots of social intrigue, key opinion leaders - so all of that is different from any regular soap brand. “You wouldn’t do it like that. But that is the way that appeals to the millennial mom, so that was the intention. We are just being true to the millennial mom - trying to give a product that gives a proposition that is exactly what she wants, which is 100% protection, but at the same time 0% dyes, parabens and talc. And at the same time doing it in a way that will appeal to her, versus doing it in the old way,” Duhan emphasised.

Drawing a comparison of the advertising and marketing strategies of the newly launched segment, as compared to the original Dettol brand, Duhan mentioned, “The element that we have tried to use in everything that we do, is the element of surprise. The packaging looks very distinctive versus the base brand. The marketing campaign has been very different versus the base brand Dettol. And as we move forward, we would continue the marketing, trade, as well as the innovation pipeline on this, which should, I dare say, continue to surprise.”

So, can we expect a range of sanitizers or something like that under the Dettol Co-Created with Moms range? “The possibilities are immense. But it is critical for us to establish a base. And therefore we need to get into the strongest possible categories. To make the highest impact, but also, leverage the base brand’s strength as much as possible. So this is what we’re starting off with. And if the platform is established, then, of course, you can take it into many different categories,” told Duhan.

Without mentioning the ad spends, he brought out that they are spending significantly higher than what they have done on any of the previous launches. “Over five to eight years we have launched many new products, whether those were new soaps, new lines, new platforms, etc. So, this is significantly higher than any of those spends that we have done. And, of course, as a consequence of that, the total spends on the brand has also gone up significantly,” he appended.

Talking about the pricing strategy of the new brand range, Duhan said that it’s premium as compared to the base brand. Depending on the size, SKU’s of the category that it is in - it is 10% - 20% premium. “But we did not start on it with a cost target. We started with a product that will genuinely delight the consumer, to the millennial mom - and then we work backwards from there,” he added.

Elaborating more on the brand, Duhan mentioned that they needed to give a product that the millennial mom loves and she is a difficult woman to please. So this took a lot of effort, a lot of time. Research for the brand has taken more than two years. “This has been frustrating as well as a fulfilling experience. So, the fulfilling part is now,” he specified.

What about competitors like Amway and others? “To be honest, we don’t look at and plan against competitors. Because the moment you begin to do so, you tend to become a follower. Because you start to benchmark. Our intention is always to lead,” Duhan said.

“So, we tend to look at the consumer group, instead. The millennial moms are the inspiration for the design of this product. And whatever path they lead us to, is the path that we followed. The moment we follow that path, it could have come out like this, it could have come out like something else. My point is that we focus on what delights the consumer, and it leads us to different paths. That has always been the way of Dettol. And I believe that is the right way,” he concludes.

Dettol Co-Created with moms soap and handwash - comes in two fragrances infused with natural essences: Tulsi and Jasmine. It will be available across, grocery stores, departmental stores, pharmacists in India and leading e-commerce websites.

Tags: Dettol
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