Monday, July 13, 2009

Liril 2000- history repeats !!!

Every time history repeats itself; the price goes up, said some one. Guess when he said it, whoever he was, had Brands and their tryst with confused positioning in mind…..

Liril has been a favourite brand, not only because of the Indian factor but also because of my Lintas (Lowe) connections. It is sad to see the fall of the brand but as it has been discussed here and everywhere (this time around it seems I am the last to write on it) let me keep away from all the slung mud.

It is easy for researchers, bloggers and arm chair academic critiques to sit and write, give dictates to “do this and do that”, ultimately it is the parents and to an extent the ayah who is responsible for the upbringing of the brand. The child grows the parent way and hence when HUL( then HLL ) wanted the old ad, imagery and the laah-la- la -la- laah jingle to go (since Liril stood for freshness and how illogical it would be to go on with the old jungle thought HLL…) and bingo it went off air and came a new music inspired from an Ilayaraja track. No matter whether the jingle served as the most memorable mnemonics of the brand for years and large generation grew up with it.

The blue ICY cool Mint and the Orange splash are all the bye products of the client’s insistence. Who can convince the pushing father that his son needs to be the same and grow up on his own….?

The models in Liril ads, and the brand itself then started saying ‘Uff, yummah… Uff, yummah!' in what many thought and meaningless jumble….the agency (Balki and co) then said and waxed eloquent about its youthfulness, energy and the stuff and why ‘Uff, yummah… Uff, yummah!' is gonna rock!!

Did it rock? History is clear… the splashes didn’t create any splash in the markets… the uff’s gave a HUH to Liril and as the markets walked away the percentage of the market share dipped to 1 %.

May be in its efforts to get back to its original self ,Liril has done it again… Remember that Liril from freshness had wandered into HOT and the couple in the ad was biting a chilly. I even thought that it’s a masala Kurkure ad or a spicy Condom ad until I saw the last frame.....but now Liril is Liril2000 (it’s a month old story and the lazy me is writing on it now?). I was a bit drunk when I first saw it last week even though I had heard about it. I preferred to ignore it because for me Liril now looks like a rape victim about whom every one has written and spoken and yet she is being raped day in and day out. I thought that HUL has extended Liril to beer and alcohol and is trying to capitalize on the HOT and SPICY imagery that it tried to build for the good old COOL and freshness brand.

Not that I recommend a going back.. HUL and Lowe are full of seasoned people and bloggers and writers need to understand that when they do it, when they do it again and again, they would surely be knowing what and why they are doing it…or are they blissfully unaware ?… If that is the case then it is worse than a crime, because it is a blunder.

The problem for the brand that created the LIME category (read the freshness category) was multi faceted. Cinthol and its Lime variant- Lime fresh which came in 1980’s threatened the Liril supremacy over the category and then came NIRMA lime, to counter which HLL did the JAI lime and then even the NIMA lime….need less to say, first the LIME soap market was soaked, and then it began to sink.. The guys who cry “Freshness and bring back the nostalgia”, are forgetting the fact that the category has sunk in total and hence the dilemma for Liril… Me included.. How I hope I could see Liril in the format of the good old Liril ads…. again!!!

Liril is like the proverbial drunkard who went to Himalayas to become a sadhu. Neither he could become one, nor could he get back to his life of drunkenness!!! Robert Frost said famously; don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up. The HUL and Lowe guys seem to know it better than anyone else and hence the problem!

Liril will now touch me in 2000 places.. Ahem… and touch is key word…the spontaneity of touch in relationships… doesn’t that look like a marriage counselor’s tagline?

What's next? Wait and Watch! The show has just begun... says the HUL website…

Why not?

Let us forget the waterfalls, the lime baths and the sizzling Nymphs who sang laah-la-la-laah.. the Karen Lunel’s and the Alique Padamsee’s …..

Forget the icy cold waterfalls near the Guna caves in Kodaikanal where karen and all her successors jumped and bathed in joy selling freshness.....

Forget the ultra-conservative Indian society and the mouth opened AWE the first Liril ads created and yet multiplied its sales figures….

Mindless it may seem now, dilemma for now it is but then ,haven’t mindless brand extensions and repositioning worked in the crowded Indian market place?

Tail piece: - A king, realizing his incompetence, can either delegate or abdicate his duties. A father can do neither. If only sons could see the paradox, they would understand the dilemma…. Marlene Dietrich

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