Failed Marketing Strategies of Big Brand Like Unilever
Submitted By : Hitesh Bharti
Submitted To : Prof.Mohan Krishnan
• Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) is India's largest Fast Moving Consumer Goods Company with a
heritage of over 80 years in India. With over 35 brands spanning 20 distinct categories such as soaps,
detergents, shampoos, skin care, toothpastes, deodorants, cosmetics, tea, coffee, packaged foods, ice
cream, and water purifiers, the Company is a part of the everyday life of millions of consumers across
India. Its portfolio includes leading household brands such as Lux, Lifebuoy, Surf Excel, Rin, Wheel,
Fair & Lovely, Pond‟s, Vaseline, Lakmé, Dove, Clinic Plus, Sunsilk, Pepsodent, Closeup, Axe, Brooke
Bond, Bru, Knorr, Kissan, Kwality Wall‟s and Pureit.
• The Company has over 16,000 employees and has an annual turnover of around Rs.25,206 crores
(financial year 2012 - 2013). HUL is a subsidiary of Unilever, one of the world‟s leading suppliers of fast
moving consumer goods with strong local roots in more than 100 countries across the globe with annual
sales of €51 billion in 2012. Unilever has 67.25% shareholding in HUL.
MISSION & VALUES
• Work to create a better future every day
• To help people feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services
that are good for them and good for others.
• To will inspire people to take small everyday actions that can add up to a big difference
for the world.
• To develop new ways of doing business with the aim of doubling the size of our
company while reducing our environmental impact.
• Believes in maintaining high standards of Corporate Governance.
• HUL is No. 1 in most of the categories it operates
(laundry, soaps, hair care, BRAND CLOUD home
care, skin care, deodorants).
• Two out of three Indians use HUL‟s products, making
its brands a part of every day life.
• Offer more than 1000 products under 42 brands .
• 7 brands > Rs. 1000 crs ; 13 brands > Rs. 500 crs .
• 17 out of top 100 most trusted brands in India Nelson
Brand Equity Survey, 2013
• Its portfolio of brands included „Lux‟, „Lifebuoy‟, „Liril‟, „Surf‟, „Ponds‟, „Vaseline‟, „Vim‟,
„Clinic All Clear‟ and „Axe‟. Most of these brands remained market leaders for several
years in their respective product categories & by early 2003 HLL had launched a number
of brand extensions with varying degree of success. Its flagship brands „Ponds‟ & „Clinic
All Clear‟ made a smooth transition from a cold cream to ‘Age defying creams’, soap,
facewash, talc, towelettes & from anti-dandruff shampoo to hair oil
category respectively was somewhat successful.
• Mostly skin care
as an all purpose
• Brand that celebrate
Ponds extended to toothpaste category.
But the „Ponds toothpaste‟ extension “failed miserably”.
It was not accepted as Ponds was associated to freshness, fragrance and clean skin.
• „Ponds‟, the popular brand of face cream, didn‟t prove to
be quite so popular when it applied its name to
toothpaste. In a blind test environment, people were not
able to differentiate „Ponds‟ toothpaste from that of
„Colgate‟. The real problem was that no one seemed to
be interested when Ponds label was attached to the
• Although Ponds had successfully extended its brand
before to soaps & shampoo, but the attributes required
in toothpaste case were simply missing.
• Brands need to be careful to choose the territory in
which they tread.
• Lack of proper research before entry into a new market
or segment can lead to catastrophic results which
include wasting of big sum of money on product
development and marketing.
To consumers the brand Ponds was nothing but
fragrance & a consumer product for external
application only; this did work brilliantly with soaps &
creams however the attributes for toothpaste are
taste. This mis-match between the attribute of
toothpaste & the soap created a disillusionment in the
mind of consumers thus when Ponds ventured into
oral health care, it was ignored. Consumers simply
refused to acknowledge its presence leading to a
sudden but painful death of a brand.
• Extensions have more chance of being successful when their functional benefits remain alike or the same.
• Extensions must strengthen the core and the core must remain unchanged.
• HUL brand Ponds successfully moved from cold cream to other extensions such as Age defying creams, soap,
shampoo & talc, because the basic premise of protection for the skin and freedom from wear and tear
remained the same, while as in case of Ponds toothpaste its failed even though both the product are also to
be used for cleanness and freshness.
• With toothpaste we clean & then spit it out, whereas with cream, soap or shampoo we apply it externally. Thus
perception of cleanness and freshness is taken so differently in different products. Even-though the attributes
are same, soap & toothpaste yet the market does not perceive it to be same.
• A wrong choice in brand extension without proper market research & without proper product attribute
knowledge is what led to failure of the Ponds Toothpaste.