There is a new fight in the biggest soap opera of them all.
In a new television advertisement, Hindustan Unilever’s Rin detergent has been taking direct shots at Procter & Gamble’s Tide Naturals since Friday.
Tide Naturals is a cheaper variant of P&G’s Tide, with Rs 10 and Rs 20 packages.
In the Rin commercial, the Tide Natural pack is quite prominently displayed, without the fig-leaf of masking that Indian advertisers traditionally resort to while taking potshots at competition.
The voiceover “Tide se kahin behtar safedi de Rin (Rin washes much whiter than Tide)" leaves nothing to imagination.
It's war, open and direct.
Barring rare exceptions, fast moving consumer goods brands have stayed away from direct hits at competing brands. The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) cites a 2004 complaint against HUL, which it upheld, in which HUL showed a ‘badly morphed’ photograph of Tide in a comparative advertisement.
There is no complaint with ASCI yet. P&G has refused to comment on rumours that it may file a case against the ad.
The company’s spokesperson said: “We are aware of the disparaging advertisement on air against Tide Naturals, but are truly encouraged by the huge and spontaneous response from our consumers in support of our brand."
HUL, meanwhile, justifies its advertising. An HUL spokesperson claims, “The latest advertisement of Rin brings alive the superior whiteness delivery of Rin vis-à-vis competing brands.”
Though Rin’s advertising agency, JWT, refused to comment, Suman Srivastava, CEO, Euro RSCG India, said, “Clients can say anything they want in an advertisement as penalty is not high. comparative advertising is not bad provided it is substantiated. Failing this should call for high penalty.”