Monday, October 8, 2007


Saffola is not just a cooking oil medium, this brand is evolving - constantly reinventing itself - fast becoming a functional food brand in the FMHG segment. For eg., we see a Saffola additive product for wheat flour that helps reduce blood cholesterol. Read on and experience the buzz in the emerging market of FMHG products...

Today the pharma, healthcare, and beauty market in India is rocking. It is also evident that FMCG products are promoting products on the health platform. For instance, Saffola Gold is a cooking medium. This oil has an additive called oryzanol that helps lower cholesterol. On World Heart Day there was an interesting sms mobile phone based product promotional campaign from Saffola. If you send a sms to a number then you can get a free cholesterol blood test done. In this campaign we observe that Saffola a FMCG product is using the health platform with very positive effect, and they have married the most persuasive technology - mobile phone – for their campaign on World Health Day. In fact, Saffola Gold contains rice bran oil that contains the oryzanol.


FMHG (Fast Moving Health Goods) market represents products for health that are directly promoted to end consumers. For eg., Saffola Gold a FMCG product is more like a FMHG product the way it is promoted; health drinks (like Complan and Horlicks) are FMHG products. Equal and other low calorie sweeteners, Benadryl and Glycodin the cough syrups, Tums and Gelusil the antacids, Vicks, Coldarin, Anacin, Listerine, Waterbury’s Compound, Woodwards gripe water, and Iodex are some of the other FMHG products.

Revital is also in the FMHG product market, however, its business and marketing model is unique and is called the rainbow coalition product promotional model. Essentially in this model while Revital product promotional messages are targeted to patients and end consumers on one end, doctors too are promoted this product for oral endorsements, recommendations, and prescriptions. The success story of this product is definitely inspiring. The Jan 2007 ORG IMS figures show that Revital, which contains Chinese ginseng, is ranked all India 35th with a MAT value of Rs. 55.56 crores, 54.8% growth and 133% EI %! As per March 2007 values, REVITAL is the 31st largest pharma brand with MAT value of Rs. 61.89 crores, 65.34% growth and has a EI% of 145%. Revital has improved its sales and product ranking even further in present months.

The action is hotting up even further in the FMHG market with the booming healthcare market and entry of foreign brands. In the derma segment, Garnier, Ponds, Emami, Fair & Lovely, L’Oreal, Olay etc are slugging it out. These brands are focused on product promotion to end -consumers directly. However, they are ignoring one important lesson that is provided here quoted from Economic Times:

Brand belief: they buy just what doc orders

According to marketers, Indian consumers have preconceived notions on brands, advertisements and people. When models wearing white coat are shown in ads, consumers attach a positive connotation that adds to the credibility of brand preposition. Mothers often listen in rapt attention when a neighborhood doctor suggests Hindustan Lever’s (HLL) Huggies diapers for bed wetting babies. HLL’s Lifebuoy Liquid and Reckitt Benkiser’s surface care brand Lysol say it all with a ‘doctor’ by their side. The doctor is a way of assuring the mother (in case of Horlicks and Complan). Marketers always want an endorser, be it celebrities, or authority figures such as doctors and teachers. It kind of becomes instructive for the functional benefits of the product category
. “

-from the Economic Times dated 12.2.2007, 6

The lessons are clear

From the above Economic Times report, and the success story of Revital, one thing is evident doctors are very important opinion builders for healthcare brands. In fact, the success of brands and campaigns hinges on connecting brands to opinion builders and prospects/customers, and strengthening word-of-mouth. Once these two aspects are taken care of during marketing initiatives, brand values and brand sales increase exponentially.

Opinion builders for healthcare brands include doctors, nutritionists, beauty therapists, dieticians, physiotherapists, and other celebrities who fit in to the brand image.

For strengthening successes of current FMHG brands

FMHG brands have an important role in strengthening health of the Indian population given the low doctor to public ratio. FMHG products can penetrate market better to every nook and corner of the country. Their availability universe is beyond the pharmacies and includes non pharma retail outlets. They do contribute to wellness and beauty management of the health aspect. However, in therapeutic and sickness management, it is the play of pure ethical (prescription based) pharma brands.

Formula # 1: FMHG product promotion can straightaway take a leaf from Revital’s success story and include doctors and other opinion builders for product promotion. For eg., Colgate and Pepsodent are two interesting brands in the FMCG/FMHG sector that have a great franchise with dentists. The dental clinics in India do have posters and other patient education material from these brands and dentists orally recommend Colgate and Pepsodent. Similarly, Farex and Cerelac are FMCG/FMHG brands that are promoted to pediatricians and they are prescribed, endorsed, and orally recommended by pediatricians to patients. Johnson and Johnson has appointed a fully dedicated field force for promoting babycare range products to pediatricians. Thus, skin care brands can take a leaf from the above successful brand promotional approaches for better business results.

Formula # 2: In end consumer oriented advertising, models featured as doctors or other opinion builders along with brand fit celebrities, will surely ensure better business results as explained by the Economic Times report quoted above.
Formula # 3: Launch interesting in-pharmacy product promotions for tapping into the strength of pharmacies to connect to customers and prospects. For more on this please CLICK HERE.

The consumer is getting better value

The booming healthcare market in India, entry of foreign brands, fierce competitive practices, retail pharmacy chains … these are adding to the options and information on healthcare. In the end the consumer gets benefited through empowering information and value for money products.
This is my 49th blogpost, please do read all other blogposts by clicking on older posts when required! Thnks and God Speed!


Saurabh Minocha said...

Hey Sunil, interesting blog u have here....u mentioned that clinincs have posters of pepsodent/colgate but do hospitals also have any promotional material from any brand ? I have not come across any brand promotion activity within hospital premises though I too have seen maternity homes carry out activities by J&J..seems like while private nursing homes may be open for FMHGs, big hospitals are still watertight to carry out such activities.

Saurabh Minocha said...

Whats your take on the same ??

Richard Feynman said...

Cholesterol, from the Greek chole- (bile) and stereos (solid) followed by the chemical suffix -ol for an alcohol, is an organic chemical substance classified as a waxy steroid of fat. It is an essential structural component of mammalian cell membranes and is required to establish proper membrane permeability and fluidity.

In addition to its importance within cells, cholesterol also serves as a precursor for the biosynthesis of steroid hormones, bile acids, and vitamin D. Cholesterol is the principal sterol synthesized by animals; in vertebrates it is formed predominantly in the liver. Small quantities are synthesized in other cellular organisms (eukaryotes) such as plants and fungi. It is almost completely absent among prokaryotes (i.e., bacteria).