Indian Deodorant Industry: How FOGG changed the game?

With this piece, we take a look at the Indian deodorant industry. We will look at the current picture, pre-Fogg marketing, compare it with post-FOGG, and then, finally, the future of this industry.

There must be a time, when you would have asked someone “Kya chal rha Hai?’, then the reply would have come “Fogg chal rha Hai”.  That’s how FOGG was able to create a place for itself in the daily lives of people i.e. the awareness part of the marketing funnel

Before going further, and understanding how FOGG disrupted the entire Indian Deodorant Industry, let’s first understand some of the nuances of the deodorant market and its evolution over the years.

A glimpse of the Indian Deodorant Industry

According to a report by GlobeNewswire, Indian Perfume and Deodorant was valued at $970 Million in 2019 and is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 13% to surpass $2 Billion by 2025. This tremendous growth of the industry is owing to the increase in the awareness of personal care products in India in tandem with the rapid urbanization, innovative branding, and marketing strategies used by the organizations.

If you look at only the deodorant segment, revenue generated by the segment in India amounts to $409.1mn in 2020. The segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.1% (2020-2023). The US is the biggest market generating $4766mn in 2020.

Some of the leading players in the market are Set Wet, Axe deodorant, Park Avenue, Nivea, Wild Stone, Engage, and Fogg, among others.

Before FOGG Launch Market

Post the year 2000, Deodorants gained popularity in India. With players like Axe enjoying a major market share, there were other players like Set Wet, Park Avenue, Wild Stone, Nivea to name a few. Although deodorant being a gender-free category it was highly skewed in favor of the males.

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One of the major reason for this skewness was the positioning of the product by the players in the market. They positioned the deodorants as a sensual product used by men to lure women. You all must have seen the exotic advertisement campaign of Axe deodorant called “Chocolate Man” and “Axe Effect.”. Not to mention the Set Wet and Wild Stone’s “Very Very Sexy” and “Wild by Nature” campaign respectively. A lot of times these ads have become controversial, leading the companies to face harsh criticism for overly peddling sexuality and being indecent. Ex. Axe faced backlash for its “Chocolate man” ad while Wild Stone for “Wild by nature “ad.

The controversial “Chocolate Man” campaign of Axe.

These ad campaigns ignored the functional benefit of the product and focused more on the emotional benefits. The problem was industry-wide. Something had to be done. And this is where FOGG came in. The hero of Indian Deodorant industry.

The FOGG Effect

It was in December 2011 that FOGG deodorant was launched by Vini Cosmetics. They launched a campaign that centered on value proposition (functional benefits) – the ultimate “no gas, no wastage” deodorant, claiming 800 sprays for an average 100 gm bottle. No other brand was communicating this. They cared about the functional benefit while everyone else were focusing on meeting emotional benefits.

The famous “No Gas” demonstration of FOGG

Now, with the deodorant market populated with sensual ads, FOGG created a hype in the market by launching completely new and innovative campaigns, 3 simple campaigns:

  • No gas Perfume
  • Kya chl rha Hai?
  • Aur Kya chahiye.

These campaigns proved to be the game-changer for FOGG as these lines of campaigns were catchy, interesting, unique, and attention-grabbing. Also, these lines were like a daily conversation between people in India. Let’s take a look at a few of the videos from these campaigns.

Interesting FOGG ad

Aur Kya Chal Rha Hai —————–> Fogg Chal rha Hai

Aur Kya Chl Rha Hai Campaign of FOGG

“Uncle kya chal raha hai?”

What they essentially did is, they connected every talking point of an Indian at that time with “Kya chal raha hai”. This proved out to be a funny and interesting way to promote the brand and garnered the attention of the target market. Do you see young folks in each of these ads? That was their audience.

In deodorant space not only Fogg’s communication is different, but the product itself is also different— They used non‐aerosol pumps, unlike other Deos.

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The 4P’s of FOGG:

So, how Fogg was able to stand out in the deodorant market? what did they do differently than their competitors?

In a press conference, Darshan Patel, CEO & Co-Founder of Vini Cosmetics said, “We were studying the deodorant market prior to launch and found that there was space for a product such as Fogg,” Patel, also added that “People were actually looking for a product which had no waste when applied“. In augmenting to studying the market, Vini cosmetics made the judicious use of 4P’s of the marketing mix. 

Indian deodorant industry - 4P's of FOGG Marketing mix
FOGG’s 4P’s of Marketing Mix

Fogg also tapped an additional market for women deodorants and has garnered a significant pie of the industry with a share of 20%.  And to maintain its paramount leadership, it has initiated occasion‐based deodorants with more specialization and customization.

FOGG Advertisement Targeting Women

Recently, Engage an ITC product also came up with an ad campaign positioned as “deodorant for couples”. Engage also like Fogg, broke the clutter of “man attracts women” communication theme, and launched the pocket size deodorants. Therefore, the entire deodorant market witnessed a paradigm shift from a male-centric industry (attracting women by using Deo) to a gender-neutral industry.

Final Thoughts…

It’s interesting to see how brands are tapping the potential market by studying consumer behaviour as FOGG has done and then disrupted the entire market by promoting the brand with a utilitarian approach. FOGG’s positioning is done so successfully by Vini Cosmetics that they are able to generate 80% of their revenue from the FOGG deodorant only.

Therefore, it is evident to say that to stay in the market, industry players have to research well the consumer needs and their rapidly changing consumption pattern. The audience today loves the brands that are honest. FOGG capitalized on that and things worked out well for them.


The author of this piece is Yuvika Teotia, a student at FMS-BHU. If this piece added value to you, share it with your best friend on WhatsApp.

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