Wonderer's Lust

FOGG : Disrupting through Functional Messaging

Circa 2011 , the Indian deodorant market had become pretty boring with a strong lead enjoyed by Axe (HUL). Axe had unseated earlier leaders including Rexona. WIth a focus on the global brand that it is Axe was communicating the global image of a deo which magically attracts girls. The advertisements were ridiculous fantasies that got the audiences attention. There was a new Axe variant periodically and shops would stock a few variants only.


The AXE clutter. It was ripe to be disrupted

Then comes Darshan Patel of Vini Cosmetics with a master stroke that I will always admire.

It was clear to him that Axe had moved to emotional/abstract branding communicating its number 1 position by being there. No longer was Axe long lasting or something similar.

Darshan Patel went back and created a new brand by focussing on the functional part of a product. FOGG was launched as the deo that had no gas( and thus was more perfume). This was communicated through advertisements where there was a promise of 200 sprays. It directly took on axe and promised a higher value for money.

The other interesting aspect about the deo was-

a) It was intially a single variant in black spreading the luxury /exclusive messaging

b) While a tin can of deo could be packaged individually ( Axe etc were doing so), FOGG was in an external black cardboard case adding to premium feel.

c) VIni had invested time in creating a distributor network which ensured it was widely available unlike the scarcity in new product launches

The FOGG spray. Note the attributes esp the black color

The FOGG spray. Note the attributes esp the black color

Axe lost market share and they were helpless. Infact they launched Axe Signature which seemed like a competition blocking brand. However if they had launched it in the same month as FOGG it would have worked but the launch was just too late.


Axe Signature. Can you see the similarity in product features to the black FOGG

Today FOGG has gone the reverse. They have branched out into multiple variants and extensions include perfumes in glass bottles. This is a classic case of a brand extension but I wonder if they have too many variants. Also a Deo to a perfume switch is difficult as FOGG may be premium priced but it is seen economical as opposed to competition. FOGG may thus find it difficult to move to perfume & premium tag.


A women’s variant. Should it have been a new seperate brand.


A blue variant


The perfume. The bottle makes you want to spend

The deo market is a 2,400 crore market and growing. Fogg through its variants possibly wants to own the mountain and any niches. Engage with its latest sexy advertising is good but its just a case of  advertisement spend and being there as opposed to anything disruptive.

I would count FOGG as the classic strategy on the drawing board that rocks the market. And kudos to Mr. Darshan Patel. Sir, you have my respect.


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