BY ALI NAQVI –
Ariel washing powder is one of those brands that my generation grew up with. Though Surf had become synonymous with washing powder way before Ariel was launched in Pakistan yet with the effective market strategy Ariel had created its own space in the minds of the consumers.
Ariel washing powder in the last few years has lost the way. Its communications have been so predictable that they have started to cannibalize the brand. The recent TVC by Ariel washing powder is a case study of the brand’s fall from grace.
Back in the late 1990s, Ariel was making campaigns based on the testimonials of the actual consumers narrating how the brand helped them to be confident and successful in life. At that time, it was unique and a good approach to engage the consumers. Those communications left lasting impressions on our minds.
Now the campaign “Sakht daagh nikale aik dhulayi main!” brings back the reminiscences if not the profound recollections of the past campaigns. Consumer preferences, brand awareness, market dynamics and growing competition over the past 20 years have surely sent brands back to the drawing board to devise informed marketing and communication strategies.
You cannot simply repeat the same ideas over and over again. The entire Ariel Washing powder communication strategy rests on two communication ideas. One is a celebrity challenge where we always have to throw all kinds of dirt and stains on a white sheet and the other is the campaign under discussion.
We have seen many ads that narrate the story of a stain picked up at workplace, there is always a friend or a neighbor who introduces the detergent to the protagonist that washes the stain clean, hence ensuring somehow the professional growth of the individual. All such ads are made by Ariel. The brand is forgetful of the fact that people don’t forget things that easily.
With the presence of mainstream brands like Brite and Surf Excel there are other players like Breeo who are keen to increase their share in the market by focusing on conventional and digital marketing. Around three years ago Ariel washing powder did a campaign by the name of Wash the Label. It was an extremely creative way of connecting a social insight with the brand. They could have explored ‘Wash the Label’ idea as Surf Excel explored Daagh Tou Achay Hotay Hain. Ariel needs to work on such ideas to move up the brand ladder.