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TOOTHPASTE INDUSTRY: AN OVERVIEW - September 28th, 2009

The toothpaste history in India can be tracked back from 1975 with 1200 tonnes of toothpaste
produced by the toothpaste industry. Prior to the toothpastes Oral Hygiene was the domain of local
home made powders and ayurvedh practitioners. With the entry of Colgate in Indian marketplace
the awareness about Oral care and the importance of oral care. In recent years the Industry has
shown impressive growth rate of 18.6% (this growth is calculated in terms of value growth in Rs. ).
The growth in the Urban market has been largely by the Gel Segment. Presently, a large chunk of
the Market is still held by Colgate. The major players in the toothpaste Industry being Colgate
Palmolive and Hindustan Lever Limited and several minor players like Balsara hygiene, Dabur etc.
Presently Colgate Dental Cream holds 52% of market share. HLL’s Close up lies far behind with 23%
of the existing market share. The third player in the marketplace in terms of market share is
Colgate Gel with 10.5% of the market share. That leaves 14.5% market share for other Brands like
Pepsodent, Pepsodent G, Promise, Babool, Sensofoam, Forhans, Cibaca, Neem, Vicco etc. The
toothpaste market is presently valued at Rs. 750 crores out of which the Gel segment has already
bagged 1/3rd portion of it. The Gel segment presently stands at Rs. 248 crores and is growing at a
rate much faster than Cream. In India toothpaste usage as compared to other countries is very low
which signifies about the potential of the market. In Urban India the usage of toothpaste per person
per year is just 190gms. Where as it is 200gms of toothpaste per person per year in developing
countries as Indonesia and Thailand. In developed countries as USA and other European countries
the toothpaste usage is 375 gms per person year. In India the toothpastes companies are going in
for advertising on a heavy note, on an average the companies managing this FMCG category are
spending 6.15% of their sales on development. Colgate Palmolive had shelled out 15% of their sales
on ads in the year 1994. Dabur had an ad expenditure of 5.07% for the year 1993. whereas balsara
Hygiene spend a huge 10.17% of their sales.

TOOTHPASTE COMPANIES AND TOOTHPASTE BRANDS


(1) Company : Shri Niranjan Aurvedh Bhawan, Tumsur (Mah)
Product Range : Niranjan
(a) 200 gm Tube Rs
(b) 100 gm Tube Rs
(c) 50 gm Tube Rs
Segmenting Factor : Veg. / Non-veg. Population
Target : 20% educate customers that all toothpastes have di-calcium phosphate or bone ash which
is animal based. Whereas they use calcium rich PIPAL insted.
Availability : Maharastra
Distributors : 107 (newly appointed)
Positioning Stance : Yoga For Teeth.
Direct Competitor : Vicco Vajradanti, but they feel that will beat them in the price game as VICCO’s
200 gm tube for Rs 44.

(2) Company : Hindustan Lever Limited

Brand Name : Close Up


Marketed By : Hindustan Lever limited (HLL)
Product Range : Close Up (Red, Green, Blue)
50 gm Rs
100 gm Rs
150 gm Rs
Pepsodent : 50 GM Rs
100 GM Rs
200 GM Rs
Pepsodent G : 50 gm Rs
150 gm Rs
Segmenting Factor : Age
Targeted At : Young people. The target market being “Multi Brand Households” where young does
not use what their parents. This particular targeting was significant when Close Up was launched
because Colgate positioning was a sort of Flip flop between Tooth decay and Bad Breath and
Colgate was going for a Broad market constituting of all the age groups.

Sought to be perceived by the customers was Fresh Breath. The physical appearance by the users,
the Bright Red Gel synerized well with the Fresh breath Benefit. The advertising account was
handled by LINTAS which focused on Fresh Breath that brought teenagers closer.
By 1980 Close Up had 3% of the 16,000 tonnes toothpaste market. The production capacity was
doubled through a deal with third party manufacturer and the Brand was taken National over the
next year and a half, the Premium slashed by 30%. In 1983 Colgate started fearing after witnessing
a downfall in market share and started airing its campaign by inviting customers into its Dental ring
of confidence, by stressing more on breath and posing as a complete toothpaste. Close Up
countered this move by sharpening product benefits, while urging the customers to do the HA test
by blowing air on the palm, the message was that Close Up feels a lot cooler which reiterated the
basic benefit of a fresh breath.
1987 was a “Probe into Problem” year for HALL as Close Up was much below expectations with only
4.5% of the 32,000 tonnes toothpaste market. They identified two basic problems:
(1) Appearance of Toothpastes detracts prospects from its serious buyers.
(2) Commercials displayed too much of proximity between couples which was too much for a
mother, who actually purchased the Toiletries.
1998 Lever reworked 3 Ps in its Marketing mix in Tamil Nadu where people have a strong sense of
Oral Hygiene and the area has a cost effective media Reach. The three reworked Ps are as follows:
(1) Product :
• Blue mint flavour introduced.
• Tangerines of Read reduced. (for serious buyers.)
• Soft Squeeze lamitubes for toothpastes introduced for the first time in the country.
(2) Communication
• Advertisement focus moved from spotlight to Gregarious couples. This group orientation was more
acceptable to the Mother.
(3) Distribution
• Took Brand to Sub Urban and Rural areas.
• Posters and Mobile Vans arrived in areas where Urban lifestyle was a matter of aspiration. This
was a purposeful move as the company did not want the Brand to be saddled with a restrictive.
Up market image
In the year 1990, Colgate followed Close Up by launch of it’s Blue Colgate Gel. It was targeted at
the youngsters within its Brand fold who were seeking Freshness. It was priced at par with Close Up
gel. The Colgate ad showed a fluorescent Blue spiral round the users body and it talked of Fresh
Breath Energy. By this time Gel became the Battleground in order to become the leader because:
* There is rapid expansion in gel segment.
* Youngsters thought white paste to be outdated.
In 1991, Close Up launched Zing Green and simultaneously Lever sponsored “Close Up Sangeet
Muquabala” targeted at the rural youth. In 1991 Close Up’s market share increased to 16% of Rs
377 crores per year market. 1991 witnessed a few problems for Close Up Blue, which was faltering
on repeat purchases as customers did not perceive much freshness value in it. In 1992, HLL
launched “AQUA BLUE” with added attributes like increased Mouthwash contents and a more Minter
flavour, so that customer’s perceived benefit is Freshness which is Lever’s Positioning stance. In
response Colgate introduced “Red Actirinse” and then “Colgate Blue”. People at HLL thought to
counter Colgate’s growth by cashing in on Medicinal appeal and came out with “Pepsodent” with
Germicheck snf “Mentadent G” now renamed as “Pepsodent G” for Gum problems. Colgate
countered this move by launching “Colgate Total” as an advanced paste to fight.
Tartar, Gingivitis, and other Dental ailments. 1993 was the year when HLL tried to woo the
customers by innovative packaging. Firstly it introduced “Stand Up Pump dispensers” for metros but
it bombed in the market because of High price perception as compared to benefits. Sachets formula
was used by lever to break into Colgate’s fort. The Close Up sachets was priced at Rs. 3 per unit
and it offered 20 uses, which means that a family of five could use it four times each. The year it
sponsored zee Close Up Antaksharee. HLL also went in for Close Up Toothbrushes under the Brand
name “Confident” and launched it in Tamil Nadu.
The confident toothbrushes were taken National and most importantly HLL advertisement account
shifted from LINTAS to FTA due to
Global alignment move by Lever’s parent Unilever. The brief given to the new agency was to
“Strengthen the Audience’s perception of Brand’s functional values.”