After Long efforts by Lifebouy(HUL) to takeover Dettol in handwash category, here comes a reply(after body wash and shaving cream) in form of Dettol-Kitchen Gel from Reckitt Benckiser stable. Lifebouy has always stayed away from attacking Dettol in handwash category but Dettol directly attacked Vim through its TVC which shows two germ-infested plates. The one cleaned by Dettol is germ-free, while the other cleaned with Vim noticeably has germs. And message at bottom “Compared to leading dishwash liquid, based on lab test”
Indeed 2000Cr dishwash market of India is very tantalizing but this brand extension of Dettol is not bizarre but also suicidal. Dettol has always stayed for “Germ killer and Disinfector”. While value of “Germ killer” can be somehow translated to dishwash but “disinfector” is not the value proposition. Dettol made killing when it launched first of its kind “Antiseptic liquid” and then launched handwash which again made killing as it was the first in the category and reached to consumer’s mind easily. It also toilet soaps offering same value proposition but they are still not in top 2. While all other products launched under Dettol, body wash, shaving cream are not at all success.
So Now, Dettol stands for Toilet soap, handwash/hand sanitizer, antiseptic, dishwash, shaving gel and body wash. So, they want you to use same brand you bath with, for shaving, wash your hands and now clean your dishes. In their book “22 Immutable laws of Branding”, Al & Laura Ries says that “Line extension, megabranding, variable pricing and a host of other sophisticated marketing techniques are literally erode brands”. Violates Law of Expansion, which states that “Power of Brand is inversely proportion to its scope” may increase top line(for a while) of Dettol but it will erode brand value of Dettol. It is against the perception of Dettol brand and Vim rightly pointed out in its print ad, ”An antiseptic is for cleaning wounds and floors. Would you use it to clean the utensils your family eats from”.
One must understand that putting brand name to any product category will only destroy brand. I am not saying that there should be no brand extension but brand extensions should be logical. Like lifebuoy soap to handwash, or dove soap to dove shampoo. But Dettol handwash/antiseptic liquid to kitchen gel, is not at all logical brand extension