HUL's latest television commercial for Rin, which makes a direct dig at P&G's Tide detergent, has raised many eyebrows.
The TVC makes a no-holds barred comparison between Rin and Tide Naturals, going on to claim that the latter is incompetent of fighting stains and providing whiteness like Rin.
In case you haven't seen the TVC earlier, watch it here.
Websites such as Twitter have been abuzz about the TVC since Friday and tweets continued through the long weekend. Some questioned the ethics of directly showing a competing brand - no blurring of logos, no spoofing of competitor brand names - and the tactic from HUL came across as disruptive as most tweets came from puzzled viewers who claimed not having seen something like this before.
A user @aditto tweeted, "Have you watched the latest Rin vs Tide ad?? In the end it says "Issued in public interest". Is it made by Rin?Is that allowed? :O"
Another user @pranky09 tweeted, "The new Rin detergent ad is directly challenging Tide!!! #mindblowing"
Meanwhile @imPraveenK tweeted, "saw new ad of Rin..wondered How Rin shows Tide powdr clearly and commentd that Rin is far better than Tide! Doesn't it violate any rule?"
Blogs such as Bhatnaturally opined that the Rin ad remains at a "claim level". It stated, "Almost all detergent ads promise a whiter wash – except that they used to refer to ‘ordinary detergents’ leaving the consumer to figure that they are talking about her brand. The only difference here is that a competitor has been named, and shown brazenly."
Another blog, Marketing Practice, stated, "HUL could not arrest the decline of the shares of some key brands to the competitors like P&G , Godrej and ITC. This desperation has clearly manifested in the latest ad for Rin. What on earth do (sic) a brand like Rin get into a direct comparative spat with its competitor...Rin chose a wrong way of telling its superiority to the consumer."
The ball is now in ASCI's (Advertising Standards Council of India) court. Replying to a query from Campaign India, Alan Collaco, secretary general, ASCI said, "A complaint has been registered against the Rin ad. The ASCI's Consumer Complaints Council will meet on 23rd March to discuss the matter."
Update: The ASCI has sent a notice to HUL and given the company a period of two weeks to respond.