New Delhi: Fast moving consumer goods maker Dabur India Ltd on Saturday took on rival Marico by promoting its Anmol Gold brand of coconut oil and pitting it against Marico’s popular Parachute oil.
“Dabur Anmol Gold Coconut Oil now at much better value than Parachute Coconut Oil," read an advertisement printed on the cover of a large national daily on Saturday.
The campaign shows Dabur’s Anmol Gold oil bottle against Marico’s Parachute while comparing the price points of the two brands — Dabur’s Anmol priced at Rs30 for 100 ml against Marico’s Parachute at ₹39 for the same quantity.
Dabur’s move to actively promote some of its key brands comes at a time when companies are doing more to save their turf and expand market share in an environment where consumers are not spending freely.
Moreover, the two companies, which compete in India’s large hair oils market have been at loggerheads over the last few years over some of their key brands that compete on retail shelves.
Last year, Dabur, that sells Vatika, Amla, and Anmol brand of hair oils took Marico to the Delhi High Court for trademark violation, according to a news report in The Economic Times newspaper. Marico had printed ad campaigns comparing its Nihar Shanti Amla Oil with Dabur’s Amla oil, prompting Dabur to take Marico to court.
The matter is sub-judice.
"Brands have been doing comparitive advertising since a very long time across sectors especially in fmcg category," said Shweta Purandare, secretary general, ASCI. "As per Chapter IV of ASCI code for comparitive claims, advertisements containing comparisons with other manufacturers or suppliers or with other products including those where a competitor is named, are
permissible in the interests of vigorous competition and
public enlightenment provided the comparisons are factual, accurate and capable of substantiation," Purandare said. Additionally, she added, the advertisement should not discredit or denigrate competitor product.
Dabur India Ltd declined to comment on Saturday’s ad-campaign. "The previous matter is sub judice and we will await the decision of the court. If there is a disparagement of any of our products, we reserve the right to take suitable action against competition," a Marico spokesperson said.
Companies have been rejigging their advertising and promotional spends in a bid to lure shoppers to buy more of soaps, oils, and shampoos at a time when weak consumer demand has hit sales of fast moving consumer goods.
"Promotions work better in a slowdown where the competitive intensity is high as the entire market is fighting for a limited share of wallet of the consumer. In such a situation, the trade needs to be lubricated better to push stocks in the market. Also, consumer is seeking better value and so consumer promotions work much better," Mohit Malhotra, chief executive offer (CEO), Dabur Ltd told investors on November 5.
Marico’s Parachute dominates the country's coconut oils market. However, the brand too has been under stress amid a subdued consumer environment. For the September quarter, volume growth of Parachute rigids oils declined by 1%. However, in the first half of the current financial year “volume growth continued to be healthy at 5%", the company said in its earnings release.