Sucheta Dalal :Rin: White money
Sucheta Dalal

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Rin: White money   

April 13, 2010

Clearly, Rin’s declining market share has been giving Lever brand managers a few sleepless nights. And going by their ads, Rin’s key threat seems to be P&G’s Tide. Earlier this year, they released a commercial on the Holi weekend which targeted Tide more than directly. They grandly claimed Rin washes whiter than Tide and didn’t bother to conceal the latter’s identity. Quite expectedly, the advert landed in the courtroom, and a stay order was passed on Rin’s mischievous ways.
So one assumed that the matter ended there, and it was now back to business as usual. But makers of Rin have indicated the controversial ad was only the first salvo fired as a part of their newly-found aggression. Now they have decided to literally put some big bucks where their mouth is. The new Rin commercial offers consumers one crore rupees in case their shirts don’t wash the whitest shade with Rin.
The TV commercial features actor Kajol announcing the offer to two housewives who disembark from a helicopter. (What’s with the chopper, what has that got to do with safedi??) And even more funnily, the two ladies fish out their buckets and begin washing their dirty linen right inside the airport’s glitzy arrival lounge! (What’s going on? I know some folks treat airport lounges as their bedrooms, but didn’t know they are also used as bathrooms!) ‘Rin Safedi ki Challenge’ is the exercise. Feisty Kajol promises a crore of rupees in prize money to anyone who can prove that the rival detergent delivers better safedi than Rin. Of course, singed by the court’s ruling, this time the advertiser has ensured the rival’s brand name remains hidden. However, they have retained the earlier two models, hoping that the housewives will induce a tidal wave of recall for Rin. Wishful thinking, that. All housewives in Indian TV ads, thanks to the mad stereotyping, look and act the same! So that ploy ain’t gonna cut.
What could possibly work is the chance for housewives to win bucketsful of easy money through washing clothes. But hang on, there’s a minor problem out here. No, Hindustan Unilever isn’t going to be flying out millions of eager housewives aboard luxury choppers to an exotic dhobi ghat in Mauritius to stage the competition. Kajol makes it clear they will come to your city/town/village, so you will have to wait for that unidentified flying object to arrive. Obviously all this is marketing balderdash. Rin is looking for some quick publicity for its brand. And if the courts won’t give them the space, choppers, Kajol and financial temptation will have to do.
Over to Tide.  — Anil Thakraney

-- Sucheta Dalal