Hind Unilever, Reckitt India and a flush new advertisement campaign

Hindustan Unilever Ltd has decided to challenge arch-rival Reckitt India directly in its new ad campaign for toilet cleaner brand Domex. The ad campaign by HUL claims that Domex offers superior benefits in addressing issues of malodour compared to Reckitt’s toilet cleaner brand Harpic.

Earlier this year, HUL was on the receiving end of a comparative ad campaign from German brand Sebamed in the soaps category. It now seems to have taken a leaf out of this playbook to take on Reckitt India.

Evidence-based ad

HUL said that the new Domex ad campaign is evidence-based and demonstrates the “superior benefits of Domex Fresh Guard Disinfectant Toilet Cleaner.” The TVC features actors Divyanka Tripathi in the Hindi version and Revathy in the Tamil version.

Hind Unilever, Reckitt India and a flush new advertisement campaign

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In a statement, Prabha Narasimhan, Executive Director & VP – Home Care (South Asia), Hindustan Unilever Ltd said, “The latest communication is in line with our goal to give consumers the evidence to help make informed decisions determined by scientific insight and technology. Our extensive studies, research and data-backed certifications underpin the superior science-first formula of the offering.” When contacted, Reckitt India declined to comment.

This isn’t the first time that the two brands are seen fighting it out in the toilet hygiene space. Brand expert Harish Bijoor said this signals that “in-the-eye brand marketing wars” seem to be back in this essential hygiene category. He said both the brands are expected to put the spotlight on the category with their disparate advertising strategies for mutual gains.

Lloyd Mathias, Business Strategist and Angel Investor said, “Comparative ad strategies are quite effective in provoking the consumers to re-evaluate their choices.” In this case, Harpic is the market leader and Domex aims to gain market share through this strategy.

It remains to be seen whether Reckitt India will fight back with an ad campaign of its own, approach Advertising Standards Council of India against the ad or explore other legal options.

As per ASCI code, comparative ads are permitted as long as the comparison is factual and does not confer an artificial advantage to the advertiser.