It is a hard to believe truth that once buying a Medimix soap from a shop was a taboo. The soap which was once called as ‘Scabies Soap’ (soap meant only for skin diseases) is now occupying 76% of all forms of retail stores in South India, thanks to the innovative branding activities. Other than that, Medimix is also a leader in institutional sales with more than 8 Thousand hotels and resorts using the product. Dr V P Sidhan, a doctor with the Indian Railways in 1960s founded a solution that cures the skin diseases of railway employees, he never anticipated it would become the a India’s largest selling handmade soap. Medimix, as the name suggests a mix of all medicines completes 50 years of presence having reach in 22 countries. While most of the present-day film stars were once a model for Medimix television commercials, KHS Manian, President, AVA Cholayil Health Care, speaks exclusively with MediaNews4U.
Medimix has started its marketing through cinema and today you claim 76% reach among the retail stores in South. How much do you attribute the success of your campaigns in the past 50 years?
KHS Manian:The present success of Medimix Brand is largely due to our rural Campaign. The quality of our product to provide solutions to skin problem (Both preventive and Curative) at a very economical cost, without any Medical prescription and our efforts to highlight this aspect to the public yielded huge success and loyalty among our consumers. Of course, our depth of distributions may not be equal to other beauty Soaps, but our width of distribution is much higher.
Which medium has been so effective for you? (Print, TV, Cinema, Radio etc)
Manian:TV Media is found to be the most effective source of our growth now. But in our initial stages it is our POP’s and activities like participation in Rural festivals, Sandhai (Rural weekly Market) and participation in Films as a part of the movie was responsible for establishing our Brand.
Please share any interesting incidents or challenges you had faced while promoting the brand Medimix?
Manian:Lack of awareness of Ayurveda and Herbs, particularly among the Urban people was a big hinderance initially. In fact, our Medimix Soaps were continued only as Medicine and was used when people got Skin problems, once it is cured, they will switch over to their beauty soaps. Our TV advertisement helped us to a large extend to change this attitude and made people realise it more as preventive Soap than curative.
How do you see the FMCG market for South India and as an FMCG player what are the key expectations from an agency while you plan for a campaign?
Manian:Awarenessamong the current youth regarding natural products and side effects of Chemicals is increasing day by day. Hence the future of FMCG Market largely depends on not only external appearance, advertisements, Price etc., but largely based on the deliverables of the products and without much side effects. Currently youth is looking forward not only to short term solutions but long-term benefits also.
Was there any challenge for your brand image?
Manian:While Medimix grew among the consumers only through the word of mouth and through stocking of products by retailers, it was in the early 90’s where mass media became effective and the brand took the next leap. Even though the product was good and customers started accepting us, there was a taboo in buying the soap. Our customers were seen as someone who has some sort of skin disease. We even understood our campaigns had also reflects similar message. Thus, from a reactive campaign with some skin patient, we had a beautiful women in swim suit endorsing our brand inducing the audience buy our products to avoid any skin problem.
What are the typical measures Medimix has to measure the reach of a campaign?
Manian: Reaching new customers is a challenge for any products as every consumer has his own expectations of the products. But retaining the customers is a big and major task in FMCG Market, when more and more companies come to competitions and portray different USP’s (may not be real) which are attractive and attention drawing among customer. For example, Fairness Soap!!!
Overall, in these 50 years, was there any threat to Medimix as a brand? (local brands coming up with similar names, some rumour in the market etc?) How did you manage in such critical times?
Manian:There has been constant threat from Big and Multinational Companies to launch competitive products to Medimix. Almost every major player had launched their own Ayurvedic Soaps from time to time. Though there may be initial setbacks due to their heavy advertisements and pricing. Medimix has been able to over come it by its consistent quality and competitive pricing.
How you see the entrant of digital media spending and how much ROI they are providing?
Manian:The current market is dominated by digital marketing as Smart phones had become inseparable in our day to day activities. The reach of digital marketing is also very deep and strong. I am sure that in the coming years, digital marketing will play a major role in FMCG marketing.