Saturday, January 19, 2008

Parachute AfterShower: An Analysis of the Branding Strategy

(This is a post for another site I will be blogging for regularly. (That is the stated intention!) This site called has been started by some of us ad mad guys and we review ads and branding strategies of many of the products we see around us. Fundamentally, good marketing achieves it ends in a very subtle manner. (atleast for me) is an attempt to better understand those processes.)

Oh boy! Times are changing! Gone are the days when the only ads for men’s personal care were those to do with Shaving products. I loved those ads, where the guy with the smooth shave and the rugged looks would look arrogantly in the direction of a female and she would come running to caress his cheeks. Ah! So corny, yet so cool... how I waited for facial hair, so that I too could shave it off with that arrogant style!

Now you have a plethora of ads on men’s products. One of the cooler ads that struck me was the Yuvraj-Sreesanth ad for Parachute Aftershower, Parachute’s new offering. It is a styling cream for men and I quite liked the ad.

As the ad progressed, a thought struck me. Where does Parachute AfterShower fit in for Parachute? This kind of a strategy would be called a Line Extension for Parachute in the Hair Care segment because it is a new brand under the hair care segment aimed at a different segment. The packaging and the ad itself clearly indicate the target segment. The ad shows two young men in an upmarket gym bantering away in a colloquial yet stylish manner. It can be inferred that this product offering is targeted at the high disposable income urban male. In that sense, it is a more high end brand compared to Parachute’s most popular mass coconut oil brand. It is also important to observe that they have taken great pains to indicate allegiance to the mother brand Parachute, cleverly working it into the conversation. However, the basic pack I think comes in around Rs. 30 for a 50 gm. tube. I have a Brylcreem 60 gm. tube which cost me Rs. 60.

This is an interesting point isn’t it? The offering is seems high end but the price is not! Therefore, they appear to have positioned themselves as a High Style/Rs brand. This way they can also target a larger segment.

While I give ParachuteAfteshower 100 marks on the Yuvraj-Sreesanth ad, I give them much lesser on their branding strategy. Let us now put ourselves in the shoes of the marketers and see how it plays out. Clearly, there is a huge opportunity for a company like Marico to come up with an offering for the rapidly expanding market of styling cream for men. From a theoretical viewpoint, there are three branding strategies that can be followed for a product introduction:

  • A new stand alone brand
  • Sub-branding: The new product brand is combined with a more powerful existing brand (Eg: Gillette Mach3, Gillette is the parent brand but mach3 is the specific brand of the razor. When you go to the shop you ask for Mach3, so it has some value on its own, BUT that value is derived from Gillette.)
  • A type of branding where it goes as “Brand X brought to you by Brand Y”.

A new stand alone brand is too costly and does not make sense for Marico given they have Parachute in their stable. They have opted for a sub-branding strategy by choosing Parachute AfterShower. I personally do not agree with this. Let me elaborate.

When I think of Parachute, I think of the following brand associations:

  • The Indian Woman
  • Value for Money
  • Care (the girl who tends to her long, lustrous hair lovingly)
  • Purity – the coconut oil is a fantastic product
  • Last but definitely the most important: Coconut Oil!

Why would I think that? Just have a look at the two ads below. One is a Tamil ad featuring my favourite Tamil actress Asin. The other is an ad featuring Dia Mirza in Parachute Advanced’s “1 Hour Champi” campaign. Both are fresh and contemporary. And nail the message into the viewer’s mind. Simple, effective ads.

However, given the brand associations they evoke, having Parachute sub-brand a product that is in some way a substitute or competition for coconut oil, doesn’t work for me!! It may be one of the Great Indian Brands that is there in every household, but you can’t sell anything under the name!

I strongly believe that they should have gone for Strategy 3. It should have been branded as “AfterShower by Parachute”. This works completely differently. The message now is: Buy AfterShower because it solves your hair problem and oh by the way, it is brought to you by the same people who have been solving your hair problems till now.

In fact, if the branders had thought about strategy 3, they would not have given a lame name like AfterShower. Can anyone tell me how that name reminds you of a styling cream? AfterShower brings to my mind an image of some think like an aftershave, a piece of toiletry.

Therefore, from a branding point of view, I just cannot get their sub-branding strategy. Let us contrast this with Brylcreem. Brylcreem was always top of my mind for hair cream. Their name clearly indicates that their some sort of a cream and they targeted the urban male much earlier than lots of products. Using this they can afford to price their products at a premium to the market and consumers may pay the premium ,inferring a higher quality.

Final Verdict: In all probability, the product will do very well because of its competitive price. But I doubt if they can ever capture the top spot in this market because of the faulty branding strategy.


Shankar said...

nice post .... i have written a couple of post on ads as well ... nice to see man more who are interested in ads and observe them to make comments .... i agree that after shower by parachute is better strat ... will be reading more about blogs from the new site

Czar said...

Too long a post da.

shrinivaz said...

I’m pretty sure that Marico’s customer base has eroded with so many international brands coming up. Our generation looks down upon “shiny” oily hair. Many guys are apprehensive about Brylcreem and its likes fearing premature hair-loss or gray hair. By promoting it as a Parachute product, a would-be customer would be reassured that he would get a safe-to-use tried and tested product packaged in a new non-sticky avatar.

Yuvraj is synonymous with style and Sreesanth - Kerala, coconut, large South Indian market…

IMO it was a brilliant choice of brand ambassadors.

Price: They didn’t have a choice

Bottomline: More than trying to make extra money, Marico is probably trying to retain its customer base - addressing our generation’s primary concern

and btw, was that Sherin in the Diya ad ?

Suff said...

this is fucking scam cream
i have used this cream atleast 2 months i saw there was no growth in my hair, this fucking cream thinned my hair down after two month i have gone to barber for haircut now i look like bald throgh sideways this fucking piece of shit has stoped pores of growing hair in my head and now i m done of this fucking fuck cream fuckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk