Reckitt to replace Dettol logo with unsung COVID-19 stories

Reckitt Benckiser will replace its flagship germ protection brand Dettol’s logo with photos and stories of unsung Covid-19 protectors which could range from students to nurses to home makers to cab drivers, as the domestic arm of the British hygiene and healthcare products maker aims to further push its Banega Swachh India programme it started eight years back. The new logos will be visible across 4 million #DettolSalute packs across five lakh stores in supermarkets and neighbourhood grocery outlets besides e-commerce channels, and will be available for 45-60 days. “We are replacing the Dettol logo for the first time; this is an India move and may be replicated in other markets,” said Reckitt regional marketing director, South Asia, Dilen Gandhi.

He said while the objective of the move was not to push market share, the exercise could lead to “acceleration of consumer behaviour”. Gandhi said Dettol has curated 100 such stories from across the country which will be told as logos on Dettol liquid handwash packs. The 200 ml packs of Dettol original liquid handwash were identified since these allowed for space to display the stories and are fast moving, he said.

On the likelihood of sales of hygiene products declining as Covid cases recede, Gandhi said: “Regardless of the pandemic, we do expect that the power of good hygiene habits will stay.” The company has been pushing new spaces and adopting extensive outreach to schools, distribution push to smaller markets and newer categories. In November last year, Reckitt announced it was doubling investments in its Banega Swachh India campaign to £20 million.

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Reckitt has been extensively leveraging the Indian government’s Swachh Bharat campaign, which has paid off for its hygiene portfolio leading to higher market share gains and deeper consumer conversion across urban as well as rural markets. Reckitt, which competes aggressively with (HUL) in the hygiene space, reported record revenue growth in India last year. The company said in its half-yearly statement last year that Dettol soap had become India’s biggest-selling brand by value share. Harpic disinfectant’s user base went up by nearly 30 million from 2019, it had added.

Reckitt Group Plc had announced in an analysts call in April 2020 quarter that it was increasing its marketing spend in India around messaging to help rein in the virus.

The maker of Dettol handwash and Harpic disinfectant reported double digit growth in India in the March quarter. The US, India and China were Reckitt’s three largest markets in calendar year 2020, representing nearly half its overall business. Last year, global sales grew 11.8% as the company capitalised on pandemic-induced demand. “Countries around the world are now at very different stages of the pandemic, with cases in Brazil and India, for example, rising rapidly, while Australia and China have seen the virus largely recede,” the company in a first quarter earnings call earlier this year. It added that across markets its healthcare portfolio, which comprises mainly of Dettol, declined 13% year-on-year as vaccination drives escalated. However, the market in India addressed the slide amid the severity of the second wave.


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