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How many consumers do you know who would buy bottled
water for their cat or dog? Ready meals made by Colgate?
Yoghurt-based shampoo? Or cleaning products from Heinz?
These may sound like ridiculous ideas, but they have all
been launched as serious products.
Of course they turned out to be major brand failures,
but if the marketers could have foreseen the
shortcomings, these products would never have been
Ponds toothpaste a failure owning
to brand perception
Unilever tried to increase its market share in
oral care products in the early 2000s by
introducing a toothpaste under the Pond’s
brand. The brand had previously been
successful at moving from skin creams to soap
products, and the jump to toothpastes seemed
like a logical next step.
Customers, however, thought otherwise. The
queer thing was, there was nothing wrong
with the product itself: a study found that
participants could not tell the difference
between Colgate and Pond’s toothpastes in a
The problem with Pond’s toothpaste was the
brand. Soap and skin creams are usually
associated with the sense of smell, while
toothpaste is associated with taste. Moreover,
Pond’s products generally have topical uses,
whereas toothpaste is used to brush the inside
of one’s mouth. For these reasons, the
company could not transfer Pond’s brand
attributes to its toothpastes successfully.
HUL brand Ponds successfully moved from cold cream to other
extensions such as Age defying creams, soap, shampoo & talc, because
the basic premise of protection for the skin and freedom from wear and
tear remained the same, while as in case of Ponds toothpaste its
failed even though both the product are also to be used for cleanness
A wrong choice in brand extension without proper market research &
without proper product attribute knowledge is what led to failure of the
Marketers should understand that you cannot simply extend a brand to
other categories because the core values are the same.
TATA NANO ;
Failure due to
What were the reasons?
Positioning: TATA-NANO was positioned as logical
upgrade for a family of four with a two wheeler. This
concept did not gel as every such household had an
aspiration to move to something better and not
necessarily cheaper, thus NANO was brought as a
second car and not as a first car.
Price: TATA-NANO was supposed to be available
for Rupees One Hundred Thousand only, which was
increased due to the increase in the input cost, yet it
was called as a One-lakh car. The company did come out
to explain the reason for price increase but it did not go
well with the buyers.
Promotion: Instead of using right marketing channels,
NANO was promoted using non-conventional marketing
concepts like social-media which was simply a case of
lack of communication to the appropriate customer.
What could have helped NANO to
position better ?
A different positioning strategy for rural, urban and smaller cities as
a totally different sub brands and with minor customization.
b) Promotion based on the attributes like performance, efficiency
instead of affordability.
c) Create special segments for college, women and first time
d) Position NANO as a regular car rather than as an upgrade for and
e) Evolve in every two years based on the market feedback.
NANO was a great product, but it is a case where aspiration of the
prospective customers was not respected. The saying that “A Man
buys a car for what he wants to be and not for what he is”, is enough
to describe the story of NANO.
Kellogg’s – a failure of a brand
Kellogg’s was in fact known as the company that introduced the concept of
Corn flakes as a breakfast throughout the world.
Kellogg’s started hunting for new markets beyond its traditional markets in
Europe and the United States in search of more cereal eating consumers.
It concentrated on india.
However, the Indian sub-continent found the whole concept of eating
breakfast cereal a new one as consumers in India preferred to start the day
with a daily bread called chapatti or its equivalent.
Instead of addressing this issue kellog’s decided to launch other products
without any further research of the market.
Kellogg which had launched itself with the best products, packaging and
excellent marketing strategy did not do well as expected resulting in sharp
decline in the sales.
Kellogg’s – a
failure of a
Where Kellogg’s went wrong?
Kellogg had pitched itself as an alternative to the
regularly consumed breakfast but to the contrary
Kellogg’s Corn flake breakfast did not give consumers
that feeling of fullness. In a nutshell after having a corn
flake based breakfast, the Indian consumers were still
Indians were used to a variety and asking Indians
consumers to have the same type of corn flake based
breakfast everyday was a cultural shock and was
rejected by the consumers.
The concept of having the sweet tasting and cold corn
flake breakfast was too difficult the Indians consumers
to digest, along with the fact that Kellogg corn Flakes
have to be consumed with cold milk. While as in India
for breakfast milk is generally consumed hot and when
consumed with hot milk corn flakes become soggy and
there are no longer tasty and edible.
The valuable marketing lessons learned from the debacle of
brand Kellogg’s in India are
Product: Kellogg’s was essentially launching a western product
attempting to appeal to Indian tastes. Globalization may be an
increasing trend, but regional identities, customs and tastes are as
distinct as ever.
Pricing: The local competition was selling at one third the price
and both were competing with the staple diet, yet Kellogg’s never
worked on correcting this very important factor.
Place: Eating cornflakes for breakfast was totally alien culture for
Indians and never ever try and make consumers strangers to their
Competition: Don’t underestimate local competitors, sometimes it
is big to be challenged.
Flaw 1: Vanilla Coke
The brand was targeted at the metro youth was
different. It was different in taste, promotion,
package, price etc.
Vanilla Coke was promoted in retro style. The brand
had Vivek Oberoi , the then bollywood flame
endorsing the brand in an unusual style. Vivek
sported the retro look with typical combination of
Elvis style + Shammi Kapoor style in an Old Lamby
Scooter screaming Wakaw.
It failed because .The campaign was not targeted at
the right segment.
This campaign had its fair share of critics also.
The brand was priced at a premium over the ordinary
This may have discouraged the teenagers from
checking out the brand
Flaw 2 :Pepsi crystal
There was no real need for Crystal
Pepsi. Despite the shifting tides in
early 90’s marketing towards
healthiness and purity, people just
didn’t get excited about a clear
caffeine-free Pepsi. Not really a
surprise- those who
were that concerned with the
health and colour of their
beverage probably would not be
Pepsi drinkers to begin with.
Flaw 3:Blackberry Storm 9500
• Blackberry 9500
launched in a market to
compete with Apple’s
• Highly volatile market
which demanded for
• Unfortunately, the storm
didn’t perform as
• Flaws like No Wi-Fi,
• Due to all such issues,
customer is reluctant to
buy Blackberry Storm,
resulting in low prices
and no resale value
Flaw 4:Apple Lisa
Duplicate file names
The Y1995 problem
Flaw 5:IBM PC
• This computer had a
hefty price tag.
• At $699, it was twice the
price of computers from
Atari and Commodore.
• Many were also
disappointed at the
awkward layout of the
Flaw 6:Tata Sierra
• Sierra primarily failed in
the market because of its
• Priced around Rs 5 lakh,
the brand failed to
appeal to the value
proposition of the Indian
• Sierra can be said as a
brand that came too
early. The Indian market
was not ready for this
Flaw 7:Maruti Versa
• The brand was positioned as
" Two luxury cars for the
price of one" .
• The ads talked about twin
A/C, comfort and space.
Versa was launched with a
1300 cc engine which was
the same used in Maruti
• Those enthusiastic
customers who flocked the
showroom after viewing the
ads was shocked by the
steep price of Versa.
• Versa was priced at par with
Maruti Esteem and other
entry level sedans.
Flaw 8 :Persil power
• When Unilever’s star brand Persil
announced the launch of a
powerful new formula, aptly
called Persil Power, many
consumers got excited by the
product’s apparent ability to
fight any stain.
• However, when the product hit
the market place in May 1994, it
proved so powerful that under
certain conditions it didn’t only
destroy stains, it destroyed
clothes as well.
• The battle reached the level of
farce last summer when Procter
and Gamble executives paraded
pairs of boxer shorts in public,
saying that in tests
commissioned by them, Persil
Power was found to have
damaged the shorts.
Flaw 9:Honda Street
• Street was the Indian version of the
world famous Honda Cub series.
• Honda Cub was the world's largest
selling single model bike which has
sold more than 2.5 crore units.
• The case is about marketing
mistake. The product failed in all
aspects of marketing mix except the
• The product was not good enough.
• It looked like a glorified M80 from
Bajaj wdhich was used by Fish
vendors an the like.
• The campaign was also not
successful. The initial campaign
tried to teach the customers the
new Clutch less gear system and its
efficacy, the customers was not
impressed with this feature.
Flaw 10:Harley-davidson perfume
• Harley-Davidson launched a
• The idea in itself created a
confusion in the masses.
• It wasn’t clear if it is meant
for bikers who don’t want to
smell like bikers, or is it for
the people who want to
smell like bikers.
• Simultaneously Harley
Davidson launched wine
coolers, after shave. For
brands that inspire strong
loyalty, the temptation is to
test that loyalty to its limits
by stretching the brand into
other product categories.