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Saif Ali, Madhavan to be Santoor brand ambassadors

October 19, 2006 12:07 IST

After dazzling cricketer Mahinder Singh Dhoni's endorsement of Mysore Sandal, it's now the turn of ageless soap, Santoor to rope in brand ambassadors. The brand has also recently extended into handwashes and might consider a foray into body wash and skin care product categories.

Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting, the company which owns the Santoor brand, has signed on actors Saif Ali Khan and Madhavan as brand ambassadors. Kumar Chander, vice-president-marketing, WCCL, said the actors had been identified on the basis of the connect they had with the audience.

"We will remain true to our original story of mistaken age identity. Only this time, the actor will mistake the 'Santoor mummy' to be a collegian," Chander said.

While Khan would be used in the campaign for the north and west, Madhavan would be used in the southern markets. After becoming one of the best selling soap brands in the southern markets, Santoor - the flagship brand of WCCL- is looking at establishing its presence in the north. The company has recently launched a white variant of the soap targeted mainly at the northern markets.

In keeping with the increasing input costs, WCCL has also increased the price of the soap. At present, 80 per cent of the revenues from this Rs 400 crore (Rs 4 billion) brand come from the south and west. Of this, 29 per cent is contributed by the Andhra Pradesh market and 15 per cent by Maharashtra.

At an all India level, Santoor has a market share of 6.4 per cent in the highly competitive soap market (Source: ACNielsenORG-Marg).

Chander said the company would use the Santoor brand for their foray into other products within the personal wash segment. Apart from further variants in existing products, skin creams and body washes may also figure among the new launches that the company is looking at.

"We have a two-fold strategy to grow the brand. One is to raise the aspiration level of the soap which is being done through the restaging, and secondly, to introduce products which drive the brand imagery," said Chander.

It has recently launched handwashes and already has talcum powder and face washes under the Santoor brand. "While the new products don't contribute significantly to the brand turnover yet, they help in increasing visibility," Chander said.

The brand has grown at a CAGR of 20 per cent for the last three years compared with an industry growth of three-four per cent and Chander said through the restaging, they hoped to maintain the pace.

On the need for the white variant, Chander said the consumers in the north were more inclined towards a lighter fragrance and colour as well as a more moisturising product, which is why the composition had been changed from sandal and turmeric to sandal and almond.

Last year, the company started exporting the brand to the UAE and Chander said that the response internationally has been encouraging and the company may look at other markets in the future.
Priyanka Sangani in Mumbai