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Marico forays into male grooming segment with hair cream

MUMBAI: In a market that currently stands at about Rs 450 million ( including hair gels), FMCG major Marico has decided to expand and capitalise the premium male grooming category with the launch of Parachute 'After Shower Hair Cream' for men.

 

This is Parachute's first diversified product outside hair oil. And it is not going to end here. According to category head Sameer Sathpathy, Marico is looking at expanding its offering with a slew of male grooming products. "The launch of Parachute's hair cream comes with the fact that male personal grooming segment is just about taking off. The category itself is in a nascent stage. The plan is to grow with it. So, the focus is more long term and futuristic."

The hair cream product is being launched pan-India, after a three-month test marketing stint done in Mumbai. It is priced lower at Rs. 29 (50gm tube) and Rs 55 (100gm jar) as against rival Brylcream which costs Rs 25 (50 gm tube) and Rs 65 (150 gm jar).

If one had to look at the market dynamics of the hair cream segment, the total market stands at about Rs 200 - 250 million. Brylcream, which is a heritage brand occupies 80 per cent of the segment. Interestingly, former Indian wicket-keeper Farokh Engineer was a regular face in the "Brylcream" advertisement in the 70s.

Parachute's 'After Shower Hair Cream' is being positioned as premium, international as well as high on the hair nutrition content aimed at offering solutions to everyday hair styling needs of men.

Speaking to Indiantelevision.com on the product's differentiating proposition, Marico Industries chief marketing Saugata Gupta explains, "The product is slightly different from the existing cream products. It contains nutritious, sensorial and non-sticky factors in tandem with the whole Parachute brand offering of healthy hair. Also, we are looking at expanding the market as penetration levels for hair creams are very low."

During the test marketing phase conducted in Mumbai, Parachute 'After Shower Hair Cream' picked up 25 per cent market share of the hair cream segment, Gupta points out.

The product will be competing with all the variables in the post wash space; be it hair styling gels or hair creams, the core TG being young married men. Explains Sathpathy, "Our focus is on the young unmarried men. We are positioning the product as a look enhancer which generally is priority when men are playing the mating game."

The nation media launch unveils on 26 March; with the metros and middle metros being the core regions.

 

On the advertising front, Marico has roped in cricketer, Yuvraj Singh as the brand ambassador of the product.

The ad, created by Ambience Publicis, is themed on "Style on.. everyday" showcasing Yuvraj at different moments of his day with his hair well-styled, whether it be on the field diving for a catch, or socialising with friends. Shot by fashion photographer, Atul Kasbekar, the ad also shows Yuvraj in a new avatar, with a stylish "after shower look."

Ambience Publicis national creative director Pushpinder Singh says, "Its imperative to understand that Parachute 'After Shower Hair Cream' is not looking at eating into anybody's market share but at expanding the market. The target group essentially being men who currently use water or oil to set their hair."

 

Singh also said that one conclusion that was emerging, was that they needed a brand ambassador who was a hero in real life unlike film stars. "Yuvraj apart from being an ace cricketer also has his own persona with a touch of arrogance that is very enduring. He is at the right level of aspiration and style."

Apart from TV, this new campaign will be executed across other media, including outdoor, cinema and radio. Non traditional mediums being used are content integration, tie-ups with parlours and the Internet.

The challenges that this segment offer are clearly low penetration levels of the hair cream segment. Firstly, hair grooming is not really on the priory list of males. And, there is the negative perception of the damaging effects of hair products.

Parachute, though, is hoping to ride on the back of its goodwill to break these perceptions while creating new habits.

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