Friday, December 21, 2007

Shoe Polish market in India

Shoe polish Cherry Blossom was launched in the UK in 1906 by Chiswick Soap Company, a part of Reckitt & Coleman (now Reckitt Benckiser).Its one of the few brands which have survived with a leadership for 100 years.

Kiwi has a history that dates back from 1906 when William Ramsay developed an unusually fine boot polish. He put the Brand name as Kiwi since his wife is a native of Newzealand. The brand grew so big that in 1967, the products were used worldwide under the banner Kiwi nternational. In 1984, it became the part of Sara Lee Corporation. Kiwi was an active player in the shoe care market from 1994 onwards. The brand was owned by Sara Lee corporation. In India, Sara Lee started as a joint venture with TTK corporation. In 2002, it became an independent venture. Now SaraLee has tied up with Godrej to market its products.

Facts & Figures
1. Penetration of Shoe Polish is more than 30% in rural India
2. Cherry Blosson was 75 crore in 2006, 60-70% market share in Rs 110-120 crore shoe polish market
3. Shoe care market in India is small. This market was dominated by Cherry Blossom from Reckitt and Benckiser which earlier had a market share of 80%. Kiwi was the challenger brand and enjoys a market share of 24% in 2006 (ACNielsen) anfd Cherry's market share decline to around 60%
4. Wax polishes constitutes 70% of the market while liquid polish constitutes 20%

Consumer Insights
1. Shoe polishes are infrequently purchased products with very less involvement from the customer
2. Cherry Blossom had a generic brand status in the market
3. Today in this hectic rush , seldom do we get time to polish our shoes every day. Understanding this Consumer insight, Kiwi launched Express shoe polish which can be used to shine shoes when you are in a rush. These innovations surely helped the brand to create a market for itself

In order to displace the leader, Kiwi banked on Innovation strategy which the market leader failed to anticipate. Kiwi was the first one to bring International standard Liquid shoe polish in India .It also pioneered the Shoe shine sponge which was a blockbuster. Kiwi was also the first brand to launch Suede and Nubuck range.While Kiwi talked about quality shoe care, Cherry Blossom was stuck with Poor " Charlie Chaplin look alike " ads. Most of the new product launches of Kiwi was in line with the changing consumer preferences. When the consumers opted for semi casual Suede and nubuck shoes, Kiwi was quick to launch Shoe care products for that category.

Cherry Blossom has stuck to its old association with Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin theme has proved so intrinsic to Cherry Blossom brand recall that Reckitt brought it back out of hibernation a couple of years ago. There were some interesting commercials in 2006 to celerbrate 100 years of Cherry. The commercial begins with a silent movie-style text cards that say "100 years of making perfect gentlemen..." and "...inspire us to introduce new anti-ageing shoe polish".
The "movie" then begins with Chaplin and his arch-rival Fatty buying shoes.As he turns to go, Chaplin picks up a tin of Cherry Blossom shoe polish from the display on the counter. Six months later: Chaplin returns to the store, buys a pair of shoelaces and tosses a coin to the shop-owner. Fatty's back, too. Only, he grabs the salesman and drags him over the counter to look at his completely worn-out shoes, while Chaplin's are still gleaming. Chaplin smiles nervously and leaves, and Fatty is befuddled. Fatty peers through a keyhole and sees Chaplin polishing his shoes with Cherry Blossom. Jealous, he throws the door open and rushes towards Chaplin, who moves aside and kicks him through the open window. The ad ends with a simpering Chaplin and product shots.

Their value proposition was very simple & straightforward: a shoe polish that prevents normal ageing symptoms like wrinkling, and makes shoes look new longer. Charlie Chaplin became almost synonymous with Cherry Blossom thanks to ad guru Alyque Padamsee, who helped create the first series of ads in the early 1980s. The focus then was on the "perfect gentleman" and the "perfect shine" on his shoes.

Stablization of Cherry Blossom
Between 2000 and 2003, the company stopped advertising completely to focus on sales promotion activities. "The competition was aggressive on such spends and we were simply trying to match it," recalls Vishal Gupta, marketing manager, Reckitt Benckiser. The results were disastrous: from over 73 per cent in 1999, Cherry Blossom's share of the polish market dropped to 61 per cent in end -2002. Euro RSCG was commissioned and with Illusion Films in tow, the first new Chaplin ad was beamed in March 2004. That showed Chaplin winning over Fatty, who was using another brand of shoe polish, to Cherry Blossom.

But Reckitt's focus was on offering customers newer ways to make their shoes sparkle: product innovations are on a high at the company, and the ads have to reflect that. After exploring various options, the Euro RSCG team finally hit on the "anti-ageing" theme, which dovetails neatly with the 100-year milestone ("still looks new") - as mentioned above. Speaking of the brief the company gave the agency, Singh says it was relatively simple. "This is a new product,
just announce it in the most interesting and effecting manner. And use Chaplin."

The Chaplin ads do seem to have added a sheen to Cherry Blossom's market share. It's climbed from 62 per cent in 2003 to close to 68 per cent at present (nowhere close to its earlier monopolistic position of 73 per cent, but still decent)

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5 Comments:

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December 23, 2007 5:50 PM  
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January 13, 2010 8:26 PM  
Blogger Night Is Gone, Thank God It's Dawn said...

hi nitin, just wanted to know if there any restriction or something like that to enter shoe polish market in india. what do you advice?
nishant

July 23, 2010 3:55 PM  
Blogger Night Is Gone, Thank God It's Dawn said...

hi nitin, just wanted to know if there any restriction or something like that to enter shoe polish market in india. what do you advice?
nishant

July 23, 2010 3:55 PM  
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December 14, 2010 8:04 PM  

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