New Delhi: Whether one has used a Vicco Laboratories product or not, the odds of vibrating to the brand’s signature jingle – “Vicco turmeric, nahi cosmetics » — is high.
You know a marketing team really deserves their paycheck when jingles become earworms.
Just like the popular advertising jingles’Humara Bajaj‘, ‘Nirma washing powder‘ and ‘Fena hi lena‘, Vicco has established its mark across generations and borders.
The brand’s catchy tune has been loved, hummed and remembered, even though people have never used the products themselves.
What has made Vicco more attractive is the use of Ayurveda in its hygiene and health products, competing with other brands like Dabur, Himalaya, Shahnaz, etc. The use of ‘haldi’ (turmeric) in its skin cream — a staple in Indian wedding festivities — helped Vicco become a brand that took Ayurveda mainstream.
Shashi Vats, a 54-year-old teacher based in Delhi, told ThePrint: “I believe that health always comes first. I have been using Vicco Turmeric Skin Cream regularly for a few years and it reminds me of the traditional Indian household scent.
Vicco was one of the first brands to sponsor popular soap operas like ‘Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi‘ on DD National. The brand became extremely likable at a time when televisions weren’t available to everyone, smartphones didn’t exist, and the internet hadn’t entered people’s lives yet.
The company has also won several awards, including the prestigious ABP Brand Excellence Award in the Marketing Campaign category in 2017.
Truly the OG, Vicco offered premium products that the company claimed had the magic and goodness of natural ingredients.
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how it started
The company was founded by Keshav Vishnu Phendharkar in 1952 as Vishnu Industrial Chemical Company (later called Vicco Laboratories). The story goes that Phendharkar, while sitting in his ration store in Nagpur one day, had a vision of making a chemical-free tooth cleaning powder.
He invented a herbal tooth-cleaning power and went door-to-door with his sons to sell it. The powder became so popular that he soon set up production companies in Dombivali, Nagpur and Goa.
Started as a company aiming to provide affordable healthcare products, Vicco later raised its prices over its competitors. The 100-gram Vicco Vajradanti toothpaste, for example, is priced at Rs 73, which is 21%, 32% and 40% more than Colgate, Patanjali and Pepsodent toothpastes respectively.
But the company had its share of bumps on the road to success. When it was launched, customers wondered if Vicco Turmeric Cream would leave yellow spots on the skin. To solve this problem, the company had sent salespeople door to door, asking them to apply the cream in front of customers.
The ups and downs of Vicco
Phendharkar’s son Gajanan Pendharkar took over the management of the company in 1971, increasing its revenue from Rs 1 lakh at the time to Rs 350 crore in 2015 when he died. The all-natural Ayurvedic company has not only dominated the markets in India, but has also established a strong presence in over 30 countries.
The company now has a turnover of around Rs 500 crore.
Products like Vicco Vajradanti Paste, Vicco Turmeric Cream, Vicco Sugar-Free Paste, Vicco Foam Items, and Vicco Turmeric Facial Cleanser have allowed the brand to branch out, following the latest trends.
Vicco Laboratories has also had its share of ups and downs with the government. In 1978, the Central Excise department classified Vicco Vajradanti and Vicco turmeric cream as cosmetics, contrary to company claims that they were herbal remedies. This meant that the company could face taxes on cosmetics.
A lawsuit was later filed by the Central Excise Department in 1985 against Vicco Laboratories, the verdict of which was not reached until 2007. The court ruled in favor of the company, protecting them from the tax on cosmetics.
Catch up with the trends
For a company to remain successful in a highly competitive market, constant adaptation is essential. Good ads will grab attention, but celebrity endorsements can help a product reach young people.
Former captain of the Indian cricket team, Sourav Ganguly is the current brand ambassador of Vicco. When Shrirang S. Tembhekar, head of marketing and branding at Vicco Laboratories, announced the association, Ganguly said it was “fan moment” for him as he often found himself singing Vicco’s jingles.
The aim of this partnership was to instill nostalgia in the minds of customers, as many would have grown up watching Ganguly play for India, and in turn connect them to the company’s new products.
Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt was previously named her brand ambassador in 2020.
The brand has also modernized one of its jingles to appeal to the new generation, with ‘yeh hai wohi Vicco Vajradanti‘.
As part of their social media outreach recently, Vicco Laboratories spent over Rs 20 lakh on an influencer marketing campaign, according to Sheeko, a marketing and brand content management company.
The #WashKaroSquashKaro hashtag in Instagram reels is also used to showcase Vicco’s latest turmeric face wash. Niti Taylor, Niharicka Singh, Anisha Dixit and Rohan Shah are among the many influencers who have been mobilized to push this campaign forward.
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