This week’s Brand Saga traces the five-decade-long Medimix advertising journey that redefined Ayurveda like no other.
When other soap brands on the Indian soil in the early 70s and 80s were trying to sell varied formulae to be beautiful, one brand took a rather different stance, went bold with its ad and showed a bikini-clad woman. It was a Medimix Ayurvedic Toilet soap print ad and this was only the beginning of the Medimix advertising journey.
The jade green Medimix soap bar – has been adorning toiletry sections of little zostels, hostels, and dorms – for years now. (P.S. it won’t be wrong to reveal that I would also hide some every time I left the places after a quick stay).
Its time to dwell into the bylanes of the very 50-year-old journey of the Ayurveda induced soap to relive its rich history.
Of Humble Beginnings
Launched in 1969 with a Black and Red pack – packaging which was unheard of for an Ayurvedic brand, Medimix saw the light of the day in Dr VP Sidhan’s kitchen who worked as an allopathic doctor for the prestigious Indian Railways. His profession meant treating sanitation workers who repeatedly suffered from multiple skin problems and weren’t regular with prescribed treatment. Coming from a lineage of skilled Ayurvedic practitioners, he decided to find a solution in Ayurveda and discovered a concoction of 18 herbs and natural oils, using which, Medimix was born.
Sidhan later set up a manufacturing unit Chennai’s small rented building in Perambur kicking off the operation with just one employee, registered under Cholayil Private Limited. Touted as a Handmade Herbal Soap, Medimix has starked presence in 22 countries and has been claimed by the makers as India’s largest selling handmade soap.
Advertising galore – The Medimix Advertising Journey
Medimix completed 50 years of its journey in India this year. After its first advertisement with the headline ‘Doctors prescribe Medimix’ on Print, OOH, and Radio, the brand explored different themes over the years. The FMCG brand progressed from a product that was passed on through generations to a product that a consumer today picks up by choice.
In the 70s the company’s tagline read- ‘Soap Recommended by Doctors’ that stood to its genuineness and natural claim.
In late 90s-early 2000s, it came up with multiple catchy advertising pegs such as “Tvacha Kal ke lie taiyaar”, “Asli suraksha, kudrati Suraksha”. So far the company has targeted different audiences from all walks of life and focused on product uniqueness and celebrity endorsement to increase brand salience.
“Medimix has always been known for its skin protection properties and our communication over the years has been true to this benefit. The journey with the company itself is a memory for me. I have seen the growth of the brand over the years and hope to experience a great journey ahead,” elucidated Ashish Ohlyan, Head of Marketing and NPD at Cholayil Private Limited (CPL).
He also mentioned that the ‘Tvacha kal ke lie taiyaar’ campaign, released in the late 90s, features the concept of timeless beauty through Medimix and grabbed a lot of eyeballs.
One of the initial campaigns of Medimix featured Trisha Krishnan, renowned actress from Tamil and Telegu film Industry. Even the music for some of these ads was composed by none other than A R Rahman.
Change of the Decade
The ‘Shut Up’ series
The Ms. Pimply ad that was released in 2004 brought to fore the daily skincare problems faced by teenage girls. It’s light and fun tone connected well with viewers and remains one of the most memorable Medimix ads till date.
It also said no to anti pimple lotions and creams sold in the market, thereby placing Medmix as the ultimate solution aggressively endorsing the 18 herbs real ayurvedic soap.
The “Asli suraksha, kudrati suraksha” campaign brought families to the fore and spoke to moms and their innate desire to keep their family healthy and safe.
The “Nothing Better than Natural” ad film conceptualized by Metal Communications is the most recent one before the repositioning and explores the concept of Medimix being handed over through generations, ultimately falling in the lap of the youth through a rich and loving legacy.
The new “Get SkinFit with Fast Acting Ayurveda “is our most ambitious one till date after, aiming to connect with the youth and bust the long-standing myth of Ayurveda being slow. It speaks to today’s generation about skin problems they can relate to, in a language they easily understand,” Ohlyan highlighted.
The rebranding was communicated well by the brand’s creative agency Leo Burnett which also differentiates the brand from regular soap brands and places it on a different pedestal. “We have also roped in Parineeti Chopra, National award winner, as the face of the brand, in an earnest attempt to catch the attention of the youth audience”.
The brand has always focused on relatable brand promotions and over the years has introduced new celebrities faces like Vidya Balan and Parineeti Chopra.
“With the promise of Fast-Acting and SkinFit the brand aims to break the myth around Ayurveda being a slow and long term process and position it as a perfect solution for all skin problems with quick results’,” shared Rakesh Hinduja, Chief Operating Officer, West, Leo Burnett India.
The same positioning platform will be carried forward in the subsequent campaigns starting with the face wash campaign and few new skincare products which are due to be launched in the near future.
Medimix Ayurveda in the Digital Age
Digital is inevitable and Medimix understands it with its presence evident on almost all major social media platforms as part of the Medimix advertising journey. Ohlyan briefed here, “With a loyal customer base behind us, we are leveraging digital to talk to the new young consumers. Be it Social Media, E-commerce or YouTube we are putting our force behind digital to acquire a whole new consumer base which is the Millennials”.
2019 saw Medimix Ayurveda revealing its new packaging of soaps and a brand repositioning of, “Get SkinFit with Fast acting Ayurveda” which was also claimed to be a game-changer on digital. “Ayurveda has always been perceived as a slow remedy. We wanted to attack that and bust that myth. We used the polls on Facebook and Instagram and asked people their opinion first and then explained to them how Ayurveda is, in fact, fast-acting with our #TimeToRethink campaign,” Ohlyan explained.
From educating the consumers with real benefits of each of its products to running targeted campaigns, digital is allowing Medimix to talk to its audiences in a fresh new language.
For example, the company ran a geo-targeted monsoon campaign this year on Instagram stories to further push its brand philosophy of making the users SkinFit.
When quizzed about the brand’s digital encore, Medimix’s digital agency, Topical’s founder and COO, Ajay Bhaskar shared that launching Medimix’s all-new positioning along with an entire revamp of packaging and bringing in a strong brand ambassador like Parineeti Chopra has made a huge difference to the brand awareness on digital.
Topical’s aim is to make Medimix the first choice of Skincare for the youth of today. Bhaskar added,
“Over the last few months, we have created a brand language for Medimix around being #SkinFit with various campaigns. From having a Topical presence to crafting stories around ingredients of the Medimix products, we have started educating and engaging with Medimix’s target audience on a regular basis”.
Over the next few months, Topical will work on the integrated digital launch campaign of Face Washes from Medimix which will again be a great way to connect with millennials on digital. Over time the agency wants to make Medimix’s presence felt strongly on all its social media channels and e-commerce with engaging content.
The idea is to form a great community around Medimix on digital and acquire new consumers every day.
On their topical content game, Ohlyan noted, “Digital is allowing us to be relevant on the social feed of our users. The social platforms have opened up avenues for us to connect with consumers where they are spending their time the most. We have also leveraged our brand ambassador, Parineeti Chopra on Digital by running digital films on Youtube, Instagram and Facebook”.
Another campaign that the brand ran is #KnowYour18Herbs which helped educate consumers about the benefit of each of the 18 herbs present in the classic Medimix 18 Herbs soap.
As Medimix gears up to launch its Face Washes in the market, it is going to use all the touchpoints on digital to further build a strong community around the brand.
Moving forward to 2019, Ohlya stressed that Medimix is directly calling out to the new generation and wants to be a part of their discovery of the wonder of Ayurveda on skin.
How the Medimix advertising journey progresses forms the rest of this saga which we hope will be equally interesting.