The retail space has had a topsy-turvy last few years as covid, supply chain constraints and economic uncertainty came for its bottom lines. But as it recovers, big players are looking at investment opportunities to come on top of the chart.   

One such retail giant in the country is Colgate-Palmolive, which gears up to launch its flagship brand Colgate Strong Teeth. In an interview with e4m, Gunjit Jain, the Vice President of Marketing of the company, spoke about its latest ad campaign for its flagship product; its marketing mix; cost headwinds of the past and the three big focus areas of the company in the country. 

Jain spoke about how things have changed in the marketing world in the last decade and how Colgate has adapted to it. “I joined Colgate about 15 years ago. And then subsequently I got the opportunity to work in global markets and now I’ve returned to India after a gap of about nine to ten years. So, I can now see a shift and see that the craft of media planning has evolved significantly from being TV media planning to digital plus TV and now being cross-media or omnichannel.”  

Jain also enumerated the things that have been giving the brand an edge over its competition.

“At Colgate, there are three specific areas that are helping us more than the others. The first one is omni- channel media planning across the people journey. For us, there are different stages that we have in the people journey; from attention to consideration to purchase and loyalty, which we abbreviate as ACPL,” said Jain.  

“The second is data analytics,” he says, which has helped the retail giant strategise with investments.  

“We use data analytics through regular studies like marketing mix modelling, which gives us the right strategies and insights on where to invest with what and how,” he pointed out.  

“The third thing is first-party data, which helps us do look-alike targeting, giving us a better return on our investment,” Jain stated.  

He spoke about the relaunch of the brand’s flagship product Colgate Strong Teeth and the kind of media they are using to increase the popularity of the product.  

“Since Colgate Strong Teeth is the number one selling toothpaste brand in the country, it’s available in 2/3rd of the country’s households and is used by about a billion consumers in India. The awareness generation plan has to be mass and impact. So, for this particular one, we are using TV, outdoor, print, in-store, programmatic social media, dental professionals, etc. because this is what this particular launch deserves.”  

Jain explained how even with cost headwinds, Colgate is keen on keeping adequate money for marketing its products.  

“Costs have been a headwind for the last couple of years for the entire industry. But we’ve been able to manage our margins fairly well. And that’s because superior products with superior benefits give us the ability to charge the right price to consumers,” he stated.  

The company’s quarterly earnings was announced recently and its domestic top-line growth was 5% to 6%, higher than the previous quarter.  

“Fundamentally, growth gets delivered when we have superior products, with superior communication, and with a superior media plan. Putting the right advertising dollars behind it is extremely critical to strengthen our brands, and to generate demand. So, we’ve ensured that we’ve got adequate media investment dollars behind our brand so far, and we will ensure that not just in the second half of the year but even moving beyond we will have adequate dollars to strengthen our brands and generate revenue,” he noted.  

In India, the company will be focusing on three key areas, said Jain. “First is delivering superior benefits on our core brands like Colgate Strong Teeth. The second is creating a desire for our premium brands with higher-order benefits. The third area is going to be driving per capita consumption in rural and urban,” he concludes.

Speaking about the campaign for the relaunch, Jain spoke about how they found a barrier, how they developed a product to overcome that barrier and how they proceeded to communicate it to the audience. “We spend a lot of time working and understanding people’s motivations. In today’s world with proactive health and wellness, what we realized was that while people do a lot to nourish their skin, nourish their hair and nourish their bodies, but they’ve never thought about nourishing their teeth. So, we took that as a barrier in mind. Second, we formulated Colgate Strong Teeth with a superior advanced patented technology, so that it doesn’t just clean but nourishes your teeth.

Now, the challenge was how do we take this to people in terms of communication. So, we’ve come up with this exciting campaign, which is termed, ‘Paste hi Nahi, Poshan hai Ye’ and we worked with our agency partners, which are called WPP@CP with A-class executives, creative directors like Harshad and Kainaz. We’ve also worked with the reputed film director, Amit Sharma on this to come up with executions which we are getting very positive reviews on. We’ve got a toothless Granny, and we thought that who better can appreciate the value of strong teeth than a toothless granny. It’s this Toothless granny who is teaming up with her granddaughter, her cutting machine, to bring the entire story and the product story to life.”

“So you have to come up with the right consumer hook that people will pay attention to, which is where we had to work with the best creative teams to be able to come up with our campaign, which is basically ‘Paste hi Nahi, Poshan hai ye’ with the toothless Granny and the cutting machine,” he added.


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