Bollywood actress to help P&G win over Indian market

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Procter & Gamble (P&G) is betting on one of Bollywood’s most popular actors to help it break the dominance of Colgate Palmolive and Hindustan Unilever, which together control 73 percent of India’s toothpaste market.

The biggest maker of consumer products, which started selling its Oral-B Pro-health toothpaste in India last month, is using Hindi-movie actress Madhuri Dixit-Nene to endorse the brand.

By enlisting mother-of-two Dixit-Nene, 46, P&G was targeting all age groups, said Harish Bijoor, who advises firms on brands.

P&G’s success in almost doubling market share for its Oral-B toothbrush brand encouraged it to enter the toothpaste market that Colgate had controlled for 75 years, Abhijeet Kundu at Antique Stock Broking said.

Its plan to focus on cities, where rival Dabur India estimates 77 percent of the population use toothpastes, might restrict sales growth, according to Kundu.

“To get to a market share of even 4 percent or so will be a Herculean task,” Kundu said. “It will take at least two years for the brand to get established.”

Colgate has a market share of about 51 percent, while Hindustan Unilever’s Pepsodent and Close Up dental creams control 22 percent of the market, according to Euromonitor International.

The task may get tougher after the economy expanded at the slowest pace in a decade, according to Nitin Mathur at Espirito Santo Securities. – Bloomberg

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