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Rediff.com  » Business » Remember those old brands? They are back!

Remember those old brands? They are back!

October 17, 2006 02:24 IST

Ye Bechara, kaam ke bojh ka maara, inhe chahiye Cinkara!

Remember these lines. Ever wondered what happened to Cinkara? If the market buzz is to be believed, you will get to see Cinkara very soon. And it's not the only one. Over the past year, brands which were either phased out, or put on the backburner are gradually making a comeback.

Wockhardt, which recently acquired Farex and Protinex in India, is said to be planning new flavours for Farex and increased visibility among other initiatives. When contacted, the company declined to comment.

Walk down the aisle of any grocery store and you will see brands like Dalda, Babool and Odomos.

Dalda, formerly one of the key Hindustan Lever brands, was put on the backburner as part of the company's power brand strategy. After being acquired by Bunge India in 2003, the brand is back on the shelves over the past year.

"The Dalda brand has huge resonance among consumers and now the focus for the company will be to further build the brand as well as expand it into other areas like oil," said Shwetal Vakil, vice-president, Bunge India.

In terms of brand building, he admits that it has been relatively easy for the company since Dalda was at one time synonymous with vanaspati in the country.

A number of such brands, which once upon a time were dominant brands in their categories have over the years disappeared for reasons ranging from competition to change in the company's focus areas.

Jagdeep Kapoor, chairman and managing director, Samsika Marketing Consultants, points out the example of Kelvinator which had a strong position in the refrigerator market as the 'coolest one' before it was withdrawn. After Electrolux Kelvinator was acquired by Videocon, the brand has made a comeback and is said to be gaining market share.

A word of caution comes from Sukanya Kripalu, a brand consultant. "If companies are looking at bringing brands back, it is wise not to delay the process for too long. As the people who are familiar with the brand move out of the purchase decision making phase, the heritage value of a brand will not matter. For the current generation it will be just another brand," she said.

Agreeing that the time factor is extremely important when it comes to reviving a heritage brand, Unni Krishnan, country manager, Brand Finance points out that in cases of brands like Cuticura or Nutrine the brands have not been withdrawn but their presence has been restricted to certain regions. "These brands still have strong recall across the country and it makes sense for the company to expand their reach to other markets as well," he says.

"Internationally," he points out, "brand revival is big business with the private equity players." He cites examples like Lornamead and Saatchiinvest who have picked up heritage brands, which were rusting with companies like Procter & Gamble and Unilever and managed to turn them around. Sooner or later, he says, it would take off in India as well. Who knows, perhaps we will see Dollops or Binaca make a comeback soon.

And with remakes of Don, Umrao Jaan and Sholay lined up, it is clear that this brand revival is not just restricted to physical products.

Priyanka Sangani in Mumbai
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