MUMBAI: The advance of Patanjali Ayurved into the mainstream FMCG market has been backed by significant advertising support as the brand has been among the biggest spenders on television during the past year.
Patanjali, founded by yoga guru Baba Ramdev, has moved into a range of new categories including toothpaste, ghee, oil, noodles, soap, shampoo and biscuits. According to data obtained by Indiantelevision.com, it paid out an estimated Rs 20 crore (after discounts) on TV ads in February alone.
Indiantelevision.com also noted that its TV advertising strategy differed from most of its rivals in that around two-thirds of its spending was allocated to news channels with only about 30% going to Hindi general entertainment channels, where FMCG brands are more commonly found.
"When everyone is in one sector, it is good to differentiate oneself and take another positioning," remarked brand consultant and business strategist Harish Bijoor.
He also suggested that "news is the new entertainment", observing that the genre had moved on from a simple reporting of facts. "If you look at the television debates today, they are often pitted against highly rated entertainment shows, and therefore have larger audiences these days," he said, and these are attracting both men and women viewers.
Industry observers wondered how long the brand could sustain this elevated level of spending but a source close to the group indicated that the "aggressive" approach was not about to end.
"Patanjali's marketing mavens are going to move into more clever and refined media buying as it starts rolling out its products in even more kirana stores and large outlets in urban and suburban India," he told Indiantelevision.com.
The founders, he added, "want to create a multi-product giant competing with long-established players, and for that aggressive marketing, distribution and advertising will have to continue".
The strategy appears to be working so far, as rating agency Brickwork said Patanjali Ayurved's sales had more than doubled (+106%) in the past ten months to Rs 3,67 crore.
At that level, the Economic Times reported, the company now poses a real threat to established FMCG players like Dabur, Godrej and Marico.
Data sourced from Indiantelvision.com, Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff