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CASE STUDY ON THE MARKETING MANAGEMENT PRACTICES OF

HORLICKS IN BANGLADESH

Prepared for:
Mr. Md. Iftekharul Amin
Course Instructor: M302 Marketing Management
Assistant Professor
Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka

Prepared by:
Group: IBA Coconut Corps
Afsara Zaheen Ahmed RH-24
Noushin Wadud Khan RH-58
Sajeed Alam ZR-60
Ahnaf Ahmed ZR-62
BBA Batch 20 Section A
Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka

Submitted on
May 20, 2014

CASE STUDY: Horlicks A Brand


Growing Beyond Taller, Stronger &
Sharper

Horlicks, the globally acclaimed malt-based drink


has evolved into an integrated part of the average
Bangladeshi household over the period of a few
years. Initially distributed by Mutual Group
Bangladesh (former distributors of Dano and
Horlicks), the operations were eventually
undertaken when original parent company
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) ventured into the
Bangladesh market in 2008. GSK Consumer
Healthcare, a subsidiary of GSK Bangladesh currently oversees the Horlicks brand. Globally,
GSK operates the Horlicks brand in over 9 countries in 4 continents.
Initially, consumers in Bangladesh perceived Horlicks from an entirely opposite approach.
Almost all members, including the senior citizens of the family were consuming this malt and
milk based drink and there was a growing culture to consume Horlicks as a remedy for illness
or tiredness. Even students were drinking Horlicks right before exams due to a perception of
increased concentration. Ironically, the brands primary target audience was in the segment
of children aged 8 and above! The Horlicks brand was behaving entirely different from its
DNA. The root cause for this dissonance was the unavailability of marketing management
practices and the void created due to the lack of the presence of the brand as a whole. In
order to fill this void created over time, when GSK took over operations, its primary objective
was to educate the customers about the actual target consumer base and the actual benefits
and science behind the consumption of Horlicks. This led to the Taller, Stronger, Sharper
campaign.
Taller, Stronger, Sharper a new approach to rectify a prior misconception
GSK decided on reinforcing the value proposition of Horlicks to ensure that it was reaching
out to its actual target consumers, the children aged 8 and above, and most importantly, the
buyers, their parents. In order to do so, GSK decided to shape the campaign around the
science of consuming Horlicks. Thus emerged the Taller, Stronger, Sharper campaign. The
campaign highlighted the three core competencies of Horlicks in terms of its nutritional
value; that it made children aged 8 and above, taller, stronger and sharper. There was
widespread use of ATL marketing efforts starting from print media circulation, points-ofsales arrangements, and television and radio commercials to communicate this claim. In a
matter of months, the campaign was a phenomenal success. This can be attributed to the
creative route taken by the brand management team to ensure that not only a value but also a
holistic and fun experience was delivered. The campaign, like GSK Consumer Healthcares
modus operandi for any marketing communication, was thus divided into two segments:
communicating the science and communicating the emotion. Since consumers were so
confused about the nutritional value of Horlicks, GSK believed that the brand required the
assertion of the actual scientific claim. Globally, the Horlicks R&D team discovered evidence
of Horlicks consumers growing taller, stronger and sharper over time compared to consumers
of competing malt-based drinks. These results supplemented the products scientific claim.

CASE STUDY: Horlicks A Brand Growing Beyond Taller, Stronger & Sharper

In order to reinforce this and position Horlicks not as a medicine with scientific benefits but
rather as a fun drink for children, the campaign introduced the epang, opang, jhapang!
jingle. It communicated that nutrition was fun and that children enjoyed the Horlicks
experience. To add to that, they also kept their mothers, the bhabis, happy and this emotional
connection was a massive hit. Although this campaign had been previously conducted in
India, the results proved similar here because of the massive socio-economic similarities.
Now standing in 2011, GSK Consumer Healthcare realized that the Horlicks brand could be
leveraged into newer heights. Generally, Horlicks is consumed with milk and milk goes to
about 30 percent of the households in Bangladesh. However, only 1/10th of these households
consume Horlicks. This presented a challenge for Horlicks to analyze the lack of penetration
into the remaining households over time. After detailed consumer behavior analysis, the key
barrier identified was that consumers perceived Horlicks as an extra drink or meal or an
extra source of nutrition. So whenever a child required extra nutrition such as when he/she
would fall sick or for extra performance such as for examinations, he/she would consume
Horlicks. It was not perceived as part of the diet or as a necessity for nutrition development.
Thats where the GSK team decided to build the brands relevance as a day-to-day part of a
childs nutrition. It wanted to reinforce that nutrition is not dynamic, but rather an integrated
part of ones lifestyle and Horlicks deserved a permanent position in that lifestyle. That led to
the emergence of a new campaign, Bere uthar dose, roj roj!
Reaching new heights Bere uthar dose, roj roj
The creative route for this campaign revolved around the concept of conscious mothers as the
brand entity. Why mothers if the target consumers are children aged 8 and above? It is simply
because the mothers are the purchasers and also act as the gatekeepers. What GSK tried to do
was to capitalize on the behavioral patterns of these mothers and gather insight.
At GSK Consumer Healthcare, the branding team formulates a very comprehensive creative
strategy. The barrier is placed in the middle, and insights around the barrier are derived. From
these insights, the creative route is formulated, and, based on the barrier, effectively
communicated. In this case the insight gathered was that most of the mothers are
predominantly housewives and there is a growing sense of competition among housewives in
terms of who provides the best nutritional care for their children. These housewives have
their own social circles, addressing each other as bhabis and these bhabis eventually
became the core brand elements for Horlicks. So how does the competition effectively
function? When bhabis observe that another bhabi is providing her child with better
nutritional care, this spurs competition among the rest to become the best bhabi out there.
This emotionally driven incentive comprised the part of the campaign, which communicated
the emotion. This was further bolstered by communicating the science, i.e. justifying how
better nutritional care could be provided by Horlicks. Even after careful inspection and
monitoring, it is highly probable that a child does not receive the required nutritional value
from his/her daily intake of food even after consuming a proper diet at proper times. The
reasons include the lack of food security and food safety due to adulteration in any meal. This
results in a nutritional gap for the child and the R&D team at Horlicks discovered that about
89 percent of micronutrient deficiencies occur due to this gap. That is where Horlicks stepped
in. Its scientifically proven nutrients strived to minimize this nutritional gap and the science
part of the campaign emphasized on that. Eventually, there were health-conscious,
competitive bhabis striving to provide their children with the best nutritional care, which was

CASE STUDY: Horlicks A Brand Growing Beyond Taller, Stronger & Sharper

lacking in a regular meal. This generated a need to provide these children something healthy
and integrate that into the regular diet to fill this gap. Essentially, Horlicks became more than
a source of supplementary nutrition; it became the key to providing children a complete
nutritional package, one that would be required daily. Hence the name, bere uthar dose, roj
roj!
And with this campaign, the Horlicks brand was re-launched in 2011, undergoing a massive
revamp. An integrated marketing approach was taken to keep the billboards, TVCs and all
promotional tools coherent with the value Horlicks was trying to deliver, to fill the nutritional
gap in children by feeding them Horlicks on
a regular basis. One of the most significant
changes brought upon was the change in
packaging and product outlook. The glass
jars were replaced with plastic jars and the
entire visuals were changed to make
Horlicks more consumer-friendly. This was
in line with GSKs core outlook on brand
development. As Abeer Rajbeen, Brand
Manager for Horlicks Bangladesh, put it, A
brand is a dynamic entity. It behaves like a
human being and just the way, we as
humans change over time, a brand also requires certain changes. Such was the rationale
behind this revamp and the results were far beyond spectacular.
Just like a products life cycle, even a campaign has a certain life cycle. In GSKs belief, a
campaign usually takes about 6 months to build up and generate hype. After some time it
develops fatigue and then it becomes time to gradually shift towards delivering a different
message on a different level to the consumers. Likewise, for the duration of the Bere uthar
dose, roj roj campaign, which ended in May 2012, GSK had achieved its target of getting
consumers to identify Horlicks as a day-to-day product. However, this led to a whole new
dimension of challenges and it was time to shift towards delivering a new brand message.
Mothers started comparing Horlicks with other daily food products and trying to determine
which would be better. The original objective was to position Horlicks as part of the regular
food and not a competitor for any meal but clearly there was a gap in the consumers minds
in perceiving this. On the bright side, the idea of competitive mothers, i.e. bhabis, had been
working well for the brand. Combining this new challenge of Horlicks comparison with the
existing brand image portrayed by the competitive mothers, a new campaign, The Food
Equivalence Campaign, was launched.
The Food Equivalence Campaign a fight for a place in the regular diet
The objective of the food equivalence campaign was to show how nutrition dense Horlicks
was compared to other daily food items such as eggs, milk and vegetables. For example, 1 jar
of Horlicks had the vitamin C content of one lemon and enough vitamin D to be equivalent to
4 apples. This relevance required effective communication to the customers. Thus, a 360degree marketing campaign called ambient marketing was launched by GSK, which strived to
compare the nutritional value of Horlicks compared to daily food items. At grocery stores,
visual cutouts were placed which would compare vegetable servings with Horlicks servings,
such as the number of eggs, which had nutritional value equivalent of one jar of Horlicks.

CASE STUDY: Horlicks A Brand Growing Beyond Taller, Stronger & Sharper

This campaign generated a lot of buzz among the concerned mothers as they could visually
see scientifically proven statistics of relevance of food and Horlicks. Although, this increased
the reach of Horlicks massively, there was intense speculation and media coverage on the
validity of the nutritional equivalence. Yet still, this equivalence campaign ranks as the most
successful in terms of reach for Horlicks.
Apart from comparing Horlicks with other food items, mothers were simultaneously
comparing milk and Horlicks, in terms of which would secure a place as a regular food item
in their childrens diet and whether Horlicks and milk would go together. GSK did not
address this issue in the food equivalence campaign, as the equity of milk is so high that
mixing both campaigns would not provide the leverage the brand was aiming for. This led to
the creation of another simultaneous campaign, Horlicks mishao, dudh er shokti barao.
Horlicks mishao, dud her shokti barao reaffirming a place in the diet
The idea was to convince mothers that Horlicks provided additional nutritional value when
added to milk. Inevitably, milk is an essential part of a childs regular meal and the campaign
encouraged mothers to feed their children milk regularly. An added incentive it provided was
the fact about the increase in nutritional value, which was part of communicating the science
in this campaign. As for all the previous campaigns, bhabis proved to be effective in
communicating the emotions in this campaign as well. As a result of this campaign, the
packaging was modified once again to include the science aspect of the nutritional value of
Horlicks.
So far the motto for Horlicks had been to make children taller, stronger and sharper. What
this scientific claim lacked was evidence. How could the mothers assess whether their
children were growing taller, stronger and sharper? Hence, there was a need for a more
effective scientific claim and thus emerged the revamp of the brand identity to incorporate the
5 Signs of Growth.
5 Signs of Growth a new claim, a new science
In order to consolidate the science behind Horlicks, the tagline had evolved into showcasing
the 5 signs of growth. This included claims of how Horlicks helped children develop healthier
blood, healthy weight
gain, better
concentration, more
muscles and more
bone area. This new
value proposition is
being integrated into
all of the current
campaigns, product
packaging and
promotional tools of
Horlicks as an
integrated marketing approach. In fact, competing health drinks are also adapting a similar
approach of using scientific claims to strengthen their positioning. Competing mothers are
still being used by Horlicks as the influencers and representatives of the brand.

CASE STUDY: Horlicks A Brand Growing Beyond Taller, Stronger & Sharper

As of now, this campaign is effectively serving the purpose of a desired brand positioning of
Horlicks. Once fatigue creeps into this campaign, perhaps the creative hub at GSK Consumer
Healthcare will look into a more robust, or completely diverse campaign. After all, Horlicks
has gone a long way starting off as a malt drink for all ages to being an exclusive nutritional
drink for children, which is heavily patronized by their mothers and almost all of this success
is due to carefully coordinated marketing management practices of GSK Consumer
Healthcare. In fact, the Horlicks brand is growing even further in Bangladesh by extending
the brand and venturing into newer consumer markets (Horlicks Junior, Horlicks Lite,
Womens Horlicks). This not only brings a host of new marketing challenges but also adds to
the Horlicks brands growing equity. Just like its former motto, the Horlicks brand itself is
growing taller, stronger and sharper over time

CASE STUDY: Horlicks A Brand Growing Beyond Taller, Stronger & Sharper