Born: 1930, in the UK
History: Owned by Reckitt Benckiser India Ltd
Status: A legacy brand, it was launched in India in 1932. Dettol has become the generic name for the liquid antiseptic products category and enjoys 85% market share in the segment. The brand today is present in various segments such as soaps, hand wash, shaving creams and plasters.
Brand story: Despite its first mover advantage, it did not become a household name from the word go. To break into the consumer space, the company launched an aggressive advertising campaign in 1960.
“By 1970, 4.7 million Dettol bottles were sold and, over the next one decade, the brand had penetrated into 40% of urban households in India,” says Chander Mohan Sethi, chairman and managing director, Reckitt Benckiser India.
Dettol’s reign in the market, though, has not been unchallenged. When UK-based consumer products company ICI Plc. brought its flagship brand Savlon to India, recalls Sethi, Reckitt Benckiser realized how serious the competition was—and “Dettol went to consumers with even more forceful campaigns”.
In the 2000s, the company’s long-standing slogan, Strong enough to protect the ones we love, changed to Dettol, be 100% sure. “As a brand, Dettol has always retained its standing on the anti-germ platform, although its portfolio has expanded to suit the lifestyle demands of consumers,” says Suman Srivastava, chief executive, Euro RSCG, the advertising agency for Dettol.