Arati Rao
Sep 21, 2012

Cinthol embarks on ‘Alive is Awesome’ journey

In conversation with Nisa Godrej and Sunil Kataria (Godrej Consumer Products), and creative partner Creativeland Asia’s Sajan Raj Kurup

Nisa Godrej (L), Sunil Kataria (C) and Sajan Raj Kurup (R)
Nisa Godrej (L), Sunil Kataria (C) and Sajan Raj Kurup (R)

A new campaign to communicate Cinthol’s new positioning breaks on 29 September. It’s about taking the brand to ‘the next level’, say Nisa Godrej,  president, human capital and innovation, Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GCPL); Sunil Kataria, executive vice president, marketing and sales, GCPL; and Sajan Raj Kurup, founder and creative chairman, Creativeland Asia. Read on.

What were the learnings from the 2008 repositioning of ‘Don’t Stop’ with Hrithik Roshan?

Nisa Godrej (NG): The Hrithik Roshan campaign worked very well for us. We didn’t look at it as something going wrong with that. We needed a change in strategy. Given what Cinthol stands for, which is ‘freshness’, ‘alive’, ‘confidence’, ‘masculine’, (we looked at) how we can reinterpret it so it connects with a younger Indian mindset. The brand’s been doing quite well, so this is just to take it to the next level.

Was there some research before this revamp task to identify what the present day Indian consumer wants?

NG: I think we’re constantly studying the Indian consumer, both from a secondary research perspective, which is about what is happening in India and the changes in psychographics, and then we do research on individual aspects. We do understand India relatively well, we’ve done business here for many years. So there wasn’t a specific ‘push-point’ for the revamp as such.

Sajan Raj Kurup (SRK): If at all there’s an emotional ‘push-point’, it’s exploiting the potential that Cinthol as a brand carries. There are two things that have happened – one, the brand is moving into a more premium segment, and hence it obviously requires a difference in tonality in the way we address the TG. Secondly, very few brands in our country in this space have been able to create an imagery of the sort that Nike has with ‘Just do it’. You never see Nike as a footwear brand, you see it as an inspirational brand. A brand like Cinthol has amazing heritage, it’s important to exploit it and create something which can ‘contemporarise’ the thinking, and inspire a whole generation.

If you look at the new packaging, it’s clean and bold and aesthetic, and not like your normal soap brands that have swirls and curves on them. It’s become more ‘urban’ in its look and feel. We’re starting small, but even that’s a big leap for Cinthol, where we’ve decided to not bring in a celebrity – first, let’s put down what this brand stands for and we don’t need borrowed feathers for that. Once we’ve done that, we can always come back and get people to endorse what the brand stands for.       

Who has done the design language? And its launch coincides with this revamp?

Sunil Kataria (SK): The design language is a core part of the entire communication strategy, it’s something we do in-house.

NG: Between R&D, product design and marketing, we have teams that work together in-house, so we’re outsourcing less.

Could you tell us more about the brand becoming more premium and urban?

NG: I think Cinthol has always been relatively premium and urban. If you see our modern trade shares in metros, they’re much higher than our all-India shares. That is why this campaign is about going to the next level. We also want to make a stronger play in categories like deodorants and shower gels, and we have some other categories planned out.

Was Axe coming into the bathing bar space a point of concern?

NG: I think we’re very far away from Axe’s positioning, it isn’t a concern.

Who is the new Cinthol aimed at?

SK: We’re looking at a psychographic definition. There is a mindset called ‘Youthful explorer’, which is irrespective of age and background. There is a side of us that wants to explore life to the fullest. A lot of us get tied down by day to day commitments; some of us want to push the bar and we want to appeal to that mindset. What we’re seeing is that the young generation has great aspiration for this kind of life.

There’s also this perception about Cinthol being a guy’s soap. But there’s a shot of a girl on an elephant in the new film. Are you hoping to open that up?

NG: Cinthol isn’t a ‘feminine’ soap, and is probably more masculine, because we’re a strong brand. But we’ve had a number of campaigns where both sexes are represented. We’d call our soap ‘unisex’.

What else will we see besides film?

SRK: We’re now working on things we can do on digital with this thought – while you’re watching the waterfall sequence, you can click on it and you’ll get information on that waterfall, and others where that experience can be found. If you click on a person in the ad, that person will take you through that bath.

SK: We’re going to do a lot on the online space to get engagement and create an ‘Alive is awesome’ community where people will come in and share their experiences. Then we’ll take it to on ground activation as well. So it’s been thought of on various planks.   

NG: It wasn’t necessarily thought of as a TVC; right from the start, it’s been looked at as something people can be part of. The good thing about this campaign is this idea of a bigger feeling and a higher order – the commercial and the lyrics are quite inspirational. Yet all the basics are in. The whole idea of the ‘Alive is Awesome’ bath project is that it’s connected to our products and our experience.

The focus will be on this positioning for a while?

SRK: This is a campaign that works well if we build on it over the next few years.

SK: We have the vision of the brand in place, we know where we’re headed. We may keep on tweaking things, but we are clear we have something inspirational in hand, that will be a milestone in the brand’s journey.

(The first look of the new Cinthol is to be unveiled on CNBC-TV18 on Saturday. The TVC will be carried on on Monday)

Campaign India

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