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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