Rin Vs Tide-The Ad Hussle-Why Rin doing this?

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The Rin commercial, launched on Friday, February 28, openly compares Rin and Tide Naturals, with a claim of delivering better whiteness at an affordable price.

Have you seen this ad? “Chaunk Gaye” like Tide’s punch line says …you can follow the discussions as well that what buzz this campaign obviously made. What you feel after watching the ad? Rivalry? Dirty wars like once we seen between Coke and Pepsi or Complan and Horlicks? How much of you think that this actually can be true? 

That’s the beauty of the media and system. Sometimes, knowing the reality might be harder than our common guesses. Who has time to go into details and then form an opinion? Most of you found themselves stunned when got to see this ad and thought “what the ….. “, “how could it be possible?”, “how could they?

Well!! Let us know some facts first …

Hindustan Unilever Limited, which is India’s largest fast moving consumer goods company (its a British company Europian company) airs an ad for its product ‘Rin’ showing direct disgrace to other product in the same range named ‘Tide’ from Proctor & Gamble (an American one), we were able to spot and discuss the same from the very moment it aired, but P & G takes around one week to file a claim against it. Why so? It must have been more easier and obvious.

Let us go into more details and let me tell you about another case, which didn’t got that much of limelight.

Feb 25, 2010 … just few day before the ‘famous’ ad, HUL filed a suit in Madras Court against P & G about their ad, which says “Tiide Naturals promises great cleaning while keeping your hands soft, because it has the goodness and freshness like that of lemon and sandalwood”, while P & G failed to prove the same, when challenged by HUL. Result: March 1, 2010 … Madras High court given P & G 72 hours to modify its advertisement saying this “does not contain lemon and chandan”.

Now, another point one must go through ASCI Official websites and rules mentioned there for advertising. HUL actually played safe, by putting a notification in bottom of the ad saying “Schematic representation of superior whiteness is based on Whiteness Index test of Rin Vs Tide Naturals as tested by Independent lab” and also seems to be ready to face any lab test.

Ok !!! these are the technical grounds and HUL might be safe, but what about the morals and what if other products in market follow the same way? Isn’t this going to bring an end for innovative and creative advertising? Was is necessary to do something like this?

Ok!! What really bring HUL into this?

Before Tide, HUL had the strongest market share, but backed by P & G, Tide started with aggressive advertisement, which really kept HUL under pressure in recent. HUL responded by restructuring its brand portfolio and reduced prices. 

It improved the situation a little for HUL, but only till P & G bounced back by introducing its low-cost-detergent Tide Natural, which claimed  "whiteness with special fragrance". Note that it’s not the same Tide, that one available on higher price in separate even now, but very few noticed the same. For normal consumers, it was like the same tide in reduced prices and more was the claim "whiteness with special fragrance".

This time, HUL wasn’t able to keep its cool and responded with multi-tier attack back on its competitor.

  1. HUL challenged their claim of “whiteness with special fragrance" saying that they are talking about Chandan and Lemon, while the product clearly contain none of these and with directive on March 1, they accomplished what they asked for.
  2. HUL launched an aggressive campaign with the same TV ad during prime time, which not only bring the focus over the war, but a curiosity in audience as well that how Tide will respond, if its absurd.

So, now we could understand that what happened and why…. aggression got answered by aggression. But the comparable advertisement, which is entirely new concept for Indian market certainly going to get much critics than supporters. HUL might be prepared for what they are claiming, but what will follow next ….. have to be seen.

Would like to have your comments that what you think over it.

Right or wrong? Brave or Foolish? Innovation or End of it?

Update March 06, 2010:

The Calcutta High Court on Friday restrained Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) from beaming a controversial detergent ad with immediate effect.

Justice Nadira Patherya passed an order on Friday restraining HUL from telecasting its detergent advertisement that was seemingly mocking Procter & Gamble’s detergent Tide Naturals.

Justice Patherya directed that telecast of the HUL advertisement be stopped on and from March 8. P&G senior advocate SK Kapur had contended that ad was ‘a clear case of disparagement’ and that it mocked the P&G product while showing its own. The judge agreed that no manufacturer is permitted to promote its product by labelling its competitor’s as bad.

HUL contended in the Calcutta High Court that by filing a vacating application, P&G had submitted to the jurisdiction of Chennai High Court and the suit in Calcutta High Court cannot be proceeded with.

In its affidavit, HUL had contended that it had obtained laboratory reports which proved the superior whiteness of Rin.

I am not quite happy over it. Not favouring RIN, but court should have called RIN to prove their version technically in place of just asking to stop the Ad.


photo of Nitish KumarNitish Kumar

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20 thoughts on “Rin Vs Tide-The Ad Hussle-Why Rin doing this?

  1. Hi nitish,

    I was shocked to see the ad on tv for the first time and lot of curiousity grew to know whether P&G would be filing the case against HUL. This is for the first time in india, where they are directly depicting the brands, though earlier other brands did indulged in such sort of stuff – but it was hushed off

    I should thank you for providing the real bites behind the scenes.

    Keep up the good work dear.

  2. Srinivas,
    Thanks for stopping by and putting your comments here.

    If you check the web, then there are many examples like; Onida and Nokia, some leading Automobiles brands around the world, but yes!! first time for India.

    But I think sometimes, we left with no other options than pushing the other party for direct and authentic comparison. Profit is sure for customer in this case, but problem is.. others are likely to follow and if it happen on larger scale then an issue for sure.

  3. In early 80s, TVS (if my memory is correct!) advertised comparing major specifications of their motorcycle with other leading brands. But it was only a comparison and i remember,other brands were not commented as inferior.

    1. Yes Parthiban,
      You remember this right. It been a common practice many a times, but in controlled manner. You may see comparisons that this phone has this and this has not etc kind of things.

      Sales persons always use direct comparison, but making it official always go messy. This time it made a bang, coz you are directly showing a product inferior.

      RIN’s frustrations is understandable as they feel that their customers are being mis-leaded and even after reducing prices. Current rules doesn’t force someone to go under third party verification before claiming something, only way left is to drag them to court saying that they are doing wrong and before they do so on their expenses, they end with already done damage.

      In my opinion, RIN is trying to put them on paying by Tit for Tat.

  4. Hi,

    The add is showing competiors name whether the customer will attract.I think its a not a good business or sales motivation to the customer.This add is showing the weekness of the Rin.Its time to tide to proof himslef

    1. Sundar,
      I want the same Tide’s reply. Question is “What taking this much time, if they are right as opinions say“.

      Think in other way as well that why RIN did that or if what I mentioned is true, then what other options were left for RIN. You know speed of jurisdiction.

  5. Hi Nitish,
    I think slow and study wins the race. I think the tide is showing there patience for there turn.

  6. Really??
    Are you not agreed from the fact that “Tide Natural”, which is being targeted with this is not the same “Tide”?

    Look beyond what seems to be obvious.

    Its like Intel placed Celeron sometimes back to put AMD and others away from stealing their market, while people who bought AMD knew very well that Celeron ones were nothing compared with AMD frontliners, which were in league with Intel’s normal processors.

    Intel due to its reputation covered it up and succeeded in its goal.

    When Tide’s original product wasn’t able to win, then note that they were not been able to reduce their prices, but they place new less capable product “Tide Natural”. RIN could have also bring a similar one, but it ultimately looses the base and quality, so wasn’t a good move for longer run. So here we are.

  7. Hi Ntish,
    Felt halariouse to figure out the information you proposed and shared with us. in fact i dont
    want to be the part of that hurdle which indulged in favour and non favour.i have a simple question whether the promotion activity adopted by hul was fair or it was the the simple incrochment of business ethic. Second …did hul was aware abt this fact that laggerd debate would be started after its Ad? Anyhow.. i think RIN has already reaped out its profit not frm its ad but the controversy raised.

    1. Satish,

      Definitely I understand your concerns and feelings and so of many. At first glance, it seems that RIN has done wrong, some extent its true as well. But sometimes, bad could be countered as bad only. It was done for triggering the debate, which began, but unfortunate is that still HUL didn’t came up prove that RIN was wrong. Why?

      If RIN is superior (which they are opposing otherwise should have gone for tests), then what’s wrong in telling the world (RIN says in the same Ad that its issued for their customer’s assistance) and if not, then come and prove.

  8. Hi,
    Thanks for the information and I think its a paradigm shift in Indian advertising.. Showing comparable brands clearly and challenging. I guess its for welfare of consumers and such advertisement will discourage companies from false claims which now a days has become most of the companies job. as in ethics is being forgotten by companies in this consumer market. well its just a start and same will be followed in future and companies which really are robbing consumers by their false claims for gaining only more share in the pocket will not do so.

  9. Yeah it could be expected that such advertising may continue and go further, still I doubt that will do good for consumers as bending laws is easier many times…

    Thanks for sharing the view

  10. it was indeed shocking to view such a comparative ad at a point blank range. thanks for providing the backdrop ..it was indeed worthwhile..even though i had been teaching advertising for the past 2-3 years, this was for the first time a direct comparison strategy revealing the brand names was being employed as a strategic tool…But the real question is are we doing away with little bit of advertising ehtics that we have with us in the name of cutthroat competition and eating away the market shares??

    1. Sure, it questioned many things as Rin went with the basic rule that everything is fare in Love and War… but being in a system evokes many implications on whatever you do. Waiting to see that what effect it will cause.

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