Indian consumer goods giant Hindustan Lever has phased out its oldest detergent brand as it tries to win new customers.

Surf was India's first detergent powder, hitting the shelves in 1959. But HL -- in which Unilever holds a 51.55% stake -- has decided the near-generic name is no longer able to attract consumers to the brand.

It has therefore introduced a new formulation and a new name to match: Surf Excel Blue. The brand will now be part of the Surf Excel range, alongside the Easy Wash and Automatic variants.

"While Surf over the last few years has continued to retain its loyal customer base, the many competitors it has spawned in the detergents industry has made it somewhat generic, not sufficiently differentiated against its competitors and, therefore, not attracting new customers," the company explained.

Hindustan Lever's other detergents include Sunlight, Rin and Wheel -- the latter being India's leading fabric wash brand.

Data sourced from: The Times of India; additional content by WARC staff