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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2002

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HLL to reposition Vim as `complete kitchen cleaner' — Brand extensions to take on regional/unorganised sector

Our Bureau

NEW DELHI, Sept. 17

THE 100-year-old Vim, among Hindustan Lever's 30 power brands, is looking at scouring the competition further. Though the brand — led by the flagship Vim bar — remains the market leader in the overall Rs 1,000-crore dishwashing market, HLL has drawn up plans to reposition Vim as a `complete kitchen cleaner'.

"We want to reposition Vim as a general purpose kitchen cleaner which goes beyond dishwashing," a HLL official told Business Line.

Following its relaunch earlier this year with additional `stain cutter', Vim bar is likely to be extended to categories catering to specific regional preferences and to take on unorganised sector products such as ash, mud and brick. "The South, for example, is a strong abrasives market and we could develop Vim bar with additional abrasive for this market," the official said.

Another brand extension being planned is that of an `applicator', to be priced at parity with nylon scrubbers. Currently, Scotchbrite is the only branded applicator in the market, priced at a premium.

HLL has projected a Rs 260-crore turnover for Vim this year, which translates to a 21 per cent growth over the previous year.

Vim bar, which accounts for over three-fourths of the Vim brand's sales, is expected to be the key driver of growth. "Of the projected Rs 260 crore, we expect Vim bar to be a Rs 240-crore brand by the year-end, with Vim detergent powder and Vim liquid accounting for the remaining Rs 20 crore," the official said.

While Vim bar is strong in Maharashtra, Punjab, Delhi, Kolkata and Kerala, the brand faces tough competition from Nirma (in the North and West), Odopic (in the West) and Sabena (in the South).

Of the overall Rs 1,000-crore diswashing market, the branded sector accounts for Rs 400 crore. According to AC Nielsen data, within the dishwashing bar segment, Vim's market share is estimated at 82 per cent share.

Vim liquid, meanwhile, would continue to be a slowburn brand. Detergent liquids is a small, though emerging market and has a limited presence of brands such as Vim, Teepol and Pril. The market is estimated at 600 tonnes, or roughly Rs 200 crore. Vim liquid was rolled out recently in cities and towns with 10-lakh-plus population.

Wheel Jugmug, the other dishwashing brand in HLL's portfolio, is aimed at the mass market. While Wheel Jugmug is priced at Rs 10 for 400 gm, Vim bar is priced at Rs 14 for 400 gm. An entry-level Rs 200-gm Vim bar priced at Rs 7 also exists.

HLL was hopeful of a 5-7 per cent incremental user base at the end of its currently-on `Vim gold bar' promotion, the official said.

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