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Glaxo Baby is born again, on demand

The Glaxo Baby, an ad icon of 70s and 80s and a household lexicon for well-fed kids, is being relaunched. Suprotip Ghosh reports.

business Updated: Feb 23, 2008 00:29 IST
Suprotip Ghosh

It is a cute and cuddly comeback, if ever there was one. The Glaxo Baby, an advertising icon of the 1970s and 80s and part of the household lexicon for chubby, well-fed kids is being relaunched but only in chemist shops and supermarket drug shops.

GaxoSmithKline (GSK) India is re-launching the Glaxo brand, usually associated with baby foods, which the company says it dug out of obscurity just because of its enormous recall. The brand line will include dietary supplements for adults and children.

GSK has started a new division named Glaxo Nutrition, which is the first group division to sport the Glaxo tag in almost decade. "We had to fight with the authorities as well as our higher-ups to get the Glaxo name back, and in the end they said okay. Such is the enormous recall of the name in this country," says Pritendra Chawla, head of strategic innovations group, GSK India.

Glaxo Nutrition would target a market that is Rs. 500 to 600 crore per year in size, and is dominated by Nutrilite, a product sold through the Amway network. Amway does not have shops or distributors, and operates through a chain of customers.

The Glaxo brand would for now only be used — and manufactured — in India, given the brand value it has in the country.

Those waiting to see the old ads come back on TV and radio are in for a disappointment though. The new brands would only be promoted through doctors and print articles, and through word of mouth, says Chawla.

A range of nutrititional and dietary supplements specifically targeted towards the upwardly mobile, urban Indian consumer will be consolidated under the umbrella brand. Its first product, ActiBase, a protein supplement for vegetarians, has been specifically designed keeping the urban vegetarian in mind, says Chawla.

“The decision to bring back the Glaxo brand may have been based on the fact that kids who grew up watching the advertisement featuring the Glaxo baby are grown-ups now, yet an overwhelming majority remember the brands under that name,” says an analyst with a Mumbai-based brokerage.