Horlicks or Complan – which is better?
It is war time. Brand wars, that is.
Complan and Horlicks have suddenly lit up the Indian Televisions advertising space. As a result, the LCD screen has become pretty hot.
The battle for supremacy in the health drink segment between two major multi-national brands, Complan and Horlicks.
It is not that we are new to such brand wars. We have seen such brand wars before. There was this famous battle for market share between Pepsodent (tooth paste from Hindustan Unilever) and the almost generic name for tooth paste, Colgate.
While we had seen many surrogate comparative advertising (largely between Cola brands, Coke & Pepsi, and to an extent between washing soaps/ powders such as Wheel and Nirma), Pepsodent Vs. Colgate was probably the first direct comparative and aggressive advertising campaign in India for a health care product.
Colgate went through a tough time when Hindustan Lever (now Hindustan Uniliver) turned the heat on. The estimated Rs.1.50 billion advertising campaign of HLL resulted in Peposodent capturing a substantial urban market share from Colgate Dental Care. That was back in 1999. It took long time for Colgate to get back some of the market share loss and not before legal battles that made HLL tone down the aggressive advertisment campaign.
After almost 10 years, the Complan – Horlicks war has erupted. I was doing channel surfing when the advertisement of Complan caught my attention. The advertisement shows two ladies with their sons shopping in a super market and with one of them buying Complan and the other buying Horlicks.
In the conversation between the two ladies, the one taking Complan picks up the Horlicks bottle from the other’s trolley and says “If you notice the ingredients of Horlicks, you will notice that they are very cheap items and goes on to say that Complan is a complete health drink with best ingredients”.
It might have been prompted because of the fact that Complan is priced higher than Horlicks. I expected Horlicks (Smithkline Becham Consumer Brands) to attack back. None could be seen for almost 10 days.
And, today (may be it is on air for a few days) I saw an advertisement in which Horlicks is retaliating with its own claims of better ingredients that makes children not only grow taller but also have better brains :-), besides being cheap in terms of pricing.
But, this retaliation advertisement however, sounded like a very feeble response to me compared to the very aggressive direct attack by Complan.
We have to wait and see how this advertisement war pans out and whether this results in material market share loss for Horlicks.
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