Aspirational aspect of the human psyche gives the brand the ‘premium’ effect. Till the time this aspiration to own the brand holds good; the brand retains its premium positioning in the mind of the consumer. A classic case of scaling down resulting in disaster is the Daewoo Cielo car brand in late 1990s. Sudden reduction in price made the car positioning from luxury segment to mid-level segment. The result was complete hara-kiri.
Similar is the case happening with Lux, Hindustan Unilever’s premium soap. Lux has been going through a tough time with many competitors in the same segment. Peers and Dove (cannibalization), Fiama Di Willis et al. Lux’ market share has taken a beating. Lux celebrated its 75 years in 2005 with a special ad featuring Shah Rukh Khan and 4 Bollywood actresses, Hema Malini, Sridevi, Juhi Chawla and Kareena Kapoor who have endorsed the brand at some point of time. This shows the power of Lux to get such star power in the ad. No other brand can boast of such lineage of endorsers. Lux is considered such as premium brand that a Bollywood actress is assumed to have arrived on stage when she endorses Lux.
The latest endorses is former Miss World Ms. Priyanka Chopra. Like they say a ‘Bond girl’, we can say ‘Lux girl’ for all these ladies. With this new ad, Lux has scaled down with a soap for Rs. 10/-. Thus immediately the premium positioning is lost when you can get a Lux for such a low cost. The aspiration for the middle and lower class of the populace is realized resulting in increased sales in the short term but in the long term, the affluent ladies would resist from using it.
The ad itself is pale in comparison to the sophisticated ads done earlier. The first thing that strikes you is the song used in the background. It’s a copy of the ‘Dus Bahane’ number from the Bollywood movie ‘Dus’. For a brand as renowned as Lux and its parent company being Hindustan Unilever, we expect an original sound track, not a straight rip-off. Priyanka Chopra could have been sued in a much better way.
A loser ad and loser strategy with nothing to gain but everything to lose.