Power Soaps Ltd, a manufacturer of detergent bars and powder under the Power brand, took on the behemoth Hindustan Unilever's detergent brand Surf's line ‘Dirt is Good' head on with two TV commercials that said, ‘Dirt is Bad' ( karai kettadhu ).

The campaign was launched 10 days ago, and conceived and produced by WOC Studios.

The house is divided on the impact of the spoof on consumers.

While a section of the trade is buoyed with the campaign according to sources in Tamil Nadu, others feel it reminds consumers of Surf's commercials.

Speaking to Business Line Mr Dhanapal, Chairman and Managing Director, Power Soaps Ltd, said, “It has received a lot of attention, but I am getting feedback that it is reminding consumers of the Hindustan Unilever powder (Surf). We are considering whether to replace the campaign with another one.”

According to Mr C.S. Amudhan of WOC Studios, the idea was to get attention. He said, “Power was relatively smaller in the powder detergent category. So we were punching above our weight, positioning on par with the market leader, making us look bigger than we actually are.”

Corruption Context

Building on the buzz around corruption in public life is the brand's next campaign, this one for its detergent bars, a category in which it claims to be the leader in Tamil Nadu. Two TV commercials launched on April 14 seek to position the brand as a ‘pure' choice — ‘something the country needs in a highly corrupt environment'.

“Power Soap (bar) is an established brand, especially in Tamil Nadu. The idea behind the campaign was to make it larger than life,” added Mr Amudhan.

Like many other regional brands, Power Soaps started with a value positioning of ‘ varumanthukketra tharamana soap' (the quality soap that suits your income). It was also seen riding on the fame of celebrities like South actress Tamanna more recently.