Freedom equal to no free lunch, water and air?

Water is a must for living. But even a decade back none really bothered much about it. India being a land of rivers water was never scarce. But as they say resources are always constrained. And, here comes a time when you need to pay for a basic entity of living called ‘water’. In last few years we have seen hordes of companies jumping the bandwagon of water business. Bottled water has become an omni-present phenomenon. With the huge success of initial brands like Bisleri, companies like Pepsi (with Aquafina) and Coca-Cola (with Kinley) also joined the competition. And of late, even India’s largest FMCG company went to the limit of changing its industry to enter the lucrative water market.

With Pureit HUL enters the business of water and also the consumer durable category. It is a water purifier targeted to the mass market. The water purifier market in India is valued at INR 9 bn in 2009. And it has to be when 80% of diseases in India are water borne diseases like: jaundice, diarrhea, typhoid and cholera. Ultra Violet (UV) based Purifiers, Reverse Osmosis (RO) purifiers and storage / resin based purifiers. UV based purifiers controls two-third of the market with Eureka Forbes’ Aquaguard being the clear leader with 68% market share. But there is enough room for other players as well. 80% of urban population don’t purify tap water and most of them being low or middle income people – can’t afford UV or RO purifiers. This is the market which Eureka Forbes and HUL wants to tap with their chemical based purifiers Aquasure and Pureit.

The target segment for Pureit is Indian households who need safe drinking water. The positioning of the products is: ‘The world’s most advanced in-home water purifier’. The product provides the benefit of drinking pure water and thereby avoiding water-borne diseases. The product also promises ‘unmatched convenience and affordability’. The product is offered at very affordable price of around Rs. 2000 and it doesn’t need gas, electricity or continuous tap water supply. At it is at the introduce stage of product life-cycle – most of the marketing efforts of the brand is targeted towards creating awareness and generating interest. The ads of the brand focuses mainly on technical and functional attributes of the products like: affordable price, the benefits, Germkill BatteryTM technology, comparison with other existing water purifying methods etc. It also makes an emotional appeal: ‘Protect your loved ones with a Pureit today!’. Till now, across India boiled water is considered as the safe drinking water and hence the tagline of Pureit is: ‘As Safe As Boiled Water’. The official website of the brand is: As changing the consumer behavior and getting people to try the product was the biggest challenge for Pureit – they used a aggressive campaign which said if anyone can locate a purifier which has the advanced features which Pureit has – Pureit will pay them 1 crore rupees.

Who thought that someday we will pay for even drinking water! Someone rightly said: “Luxury of one generation (buying water) becomes necessity for the next generation”. With the commercialization of water – may be the only thing left is free air and with the proliferation of industry and increasing pollution levels buying fresh air does not seem to be a wild imagination. Of course, it creates huge opportunities for our esteemed opportunistic companies. HUL – are you listening? Is not it really ironical that something that makes living so difficult for some also becomes big source of revenue for someone else! With all these one key question that comes to my mind is are we really ‘free citizens’ in a free world? We knew that there is no free lunch, now we don’t have free water, and I doubt how long we will breathe for free!!

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About Dr. Angshu

Dr. Angshu is the founder and owner of TNMG: The Next Marketing Guru. He is a PhD and MBA in Marketing from XLRI Jamshedpur. Currently he is leading large scale marketing, research & analytics projects as part of Strategy & Insights team at Star India, India’s no. 1 Media & Entertainment company. In his last job, he was heading Consumer Insights function for Spice Group. Earlier he has worked for Wipro Technologies and managed IT projects for marketing division of a Fortune 100 company. Dr. Angshu is a Visiting Professor at XLRI and IMT Ghaziabad. He has published multiple research papers on marketing, social media and luxury consumption. Recently he has published a book titled “Influence 2.0: How Social Media WOM Influences You" published by reputed international publishing house Lambert Publishing. Other than work and academics, he is a social media addict, big foodie and amateur pianist. You can contact him by: Gmail | Facebook | LinkedIn

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