Rin Vs Tide (Hindustan Unilever vs P&G) Advertisement Campaign Makes A Direct Attack

The war between detergent giants Hindustan Unilever (HUL) and Procter & Gamble (P&G) continues.

This ad is special as it is plain stupid. However, a recent ad on TV takes a direct dig on the competitor’s product which is not something that has been seen on the Indi-Ad scene. The indirect references in ads have been in plenty but never ever I have seen such a direct attack. If you are familiar with Tide ads, their USP has been to highlight the superior technology which make the clothes more white/bright as compared to the other detergents.
The new campaign that I am referring to has been started by Rin, a product of Hindustan Unilever Limited. It is a direct attack on the Tide Naturals product by Procter & Gamble. Note that when I say a direct attack – it means an uncensored visual shows the competitor product and then highlights how the other product is better then the former. The sequence of the ad is as follows
  1. Two ladies are standing on a bus stop, waiting to pick their kids from their school bus.
  2. Both are carrying their shopping basket/bag with them.
  3. Lady 1 has Tide Naturals in her bag.
  4. Lady 2 has Rin in her bag
  5. Both ladies have a look at each other’s bag and Lady 1 boasts that Tide has a good fragrance and provide better whiteness/brightness to the clothes
  6. In the meantime, the school bus arrives and it’s shown that the white shirt of Lady 2’s kid is strikingly brighter and whiter then the Lady 1’s kid.
  7. Lady 1 gets astonished by the whiteness seen.
  8. Lady 2’s kid reacts by asking he mother, as to why is the other lady so observant and amazed
  9. There is a disclaimer during the ad that the analysis has been done by an independent agency
  10. It’s then claimed that now there is promotional price of Rs. 25 on Rin as opposed to the earlier Rs. 35.
As you can notice, there is a direct mention of the competitor product along with the visuals. Earlier we had seen, how a row was created when Onida referred to Nokia in it’s ad though  indirectly . This one seems to be an absolute direct attack. It is difficult to say if the ad will continue on TV. Tide would definitely come out with a protest. However, I think the damage is already done. The main point about the reduced price of Rin would definitely catch the consumer’s eye benefiting HUL.
The ad is as given below

The gloves are off, and it seems a bare-knuckle fight between consumer product majors Hindustan Unilever and Procter & Gamble is
inevitable in the market. HUL has landed the first punch on Cincinnati-headquartered P&G on air, in front of millions of viewers on primetime television.

In the first move of its kind by HUL, the latest on-air communication of homecare brand Rin has openly taken on rival P&G’s Tide, without the typical airbrushing or pixellation to hide the rival brand name on TV. The Rin washing powder commercial, which went on air on Friday, claims to be a better quality product in comparison to Tide. The visual clearly shows a variant of Tide, Tide Naturals, shown against Rin with the audio saying ‘Tide se kahin behatar safedi de Rin’ (Rin gives better whiteness than Tide).

Within a day of its going on air, the campaign has landed up in court. A source at HUL said its rival has gone to court and everyone at HUL has been asked not to speak about the ad. “I have not even seen the advertisement,” said a person in the sales team handling Rin’s marketing. “But we have been told not to comment on anything.”

However, the HUL spokesperson said, “This advertisement reinforces the promise to Rin consumers that Rin delivers superior whiteness. This claim is based on laboratory tests done through globally accepted protocols in independent third-party laboratories.”

People close to the action said the HUL move comes as the company was worried about the Tide variant eating into Rin’s pie riding on superior quality attributes.

Earlier, skirmishes between the two companies were always restricted to disguised comparative advertising or matching each other’s price cuts in the market. This time, however, HUL has decided to engage P&G directly, backed by laboratory data and certification of a superior quality product.

“The company realised there was some confusion in the minds of Rin consumers because of the rival offering at a lower price. So HUL decided to take on competition openly,” a person said.

When asked about the likely response to the ad, a P&G spokesperson said, “We are aware of a disparaging advertisement on air against one of our brands. We will, however, continue to stay focused on growing our share via delighting consumers and focusing our communication on the benefits of our brand.”

A market expert said the HUL commercial was strategically timed to coincide with the long weekend thus giving the Anglo-Dutch company enough air time to show the commercial. “Even if P&G decides to take any action against HUL, the TV commercial running on prime time has already got enough visibility in the past few days.”

Industry observers are now watching with interest P&G’s possible response to such a blatant claim by a rival. While some are talking about a possible legal recourse, another school of thought envisages P&G opening up another front against HUL by taking on Surf.

Pour in your comments on what you feel about this ad and whether you would like to see more ads of this kind on the Indian Television.


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