Cinthol was a male-grooming brand to reckon with in India even before the country’s residents knew what male grooming was. In the 1980s, the soap brand was endorsed by personalities such as Bollywood actor Vinod Khanna and Pakistani cricket captain Imran Khan.
In the mid-1980s, the brand had a double digit market share according to Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (GCPL), the company that owns the brand. Today, almost two decades later, the company said the soap brand has just a 2.5% share in the Rs6,000 crore market for soap.
Encouraged by growing activity in the male-grooming market now, GCPL has decided to revive its flagship brand. “Cinthol will be repositioned and relaunched in the next six months. We have put a team in place to work on the brand,” said chairman Adi Godrej.
Analysts said the relaunch is motivated by a desire to cash in on a growing market. “A lot of new players such as Nivea and Emami are entering the male-grooming space and product categories such as liquid soaps and gels are growing very fast,” said Sumeet Budhiraja, senior vice-president of research at brokerage firm First Global Equities. “If GCPL manages to revive Cinthol’s male-centric identity and innovate on the product format, it could also gain from the growing trend,” he added.
The designated team at GCPL is working on a new marketing and advertising plan for Cinthol’s relaunch. “We are working on a strategy that will help in sharpening Cinthol’s recall among consumers. The relaunch will be backed by solid marketing and advertising,” said R.K. Sinha, COO, marketing and operations, GCPL.
GCPL’s soaps division reported a turnover of Rs488 crore in 2006-07 with Cinthol contributing Rs146 crore. The soap business is now mainly driven by the company’s “No.1” brand, which is valued at Rs300 crore. Soaps contributed 64% to the GCPL’s total turnover of Rs758.5 crore last year.
Cinthol, which was launched in 1952 as the first deodorant soap in the country, has been through several changes. In 1989, Cinthol tried to position it as a lime freshness soap with the launch of Cinthol Lime. In 1992, it launched Cinthol Cologne soap. But, reportedly, the company found that consumers wanted the old product back and that led to GCPL relaunching the original Cinthol brand. This was, however, renamed Cinthol International.
Godrej said that sales of Cinthol had grown at a double digit rate over the past few quarters.