When I was a teenager in the seventies, Cinthol used to be a popular soap with a distinctly red package. The soap was green with a strong smell. It had something called hexachlorofene, an ingredient that was supposed to make it different and thus used in all their advertising. Just then Liril came and captured everyone’s eyeballs. It was for the first time that the Indian public got to see a bathing beauty in a bikini frolicking under a waterfall, on screen. The soap was lime green, had a great fresh fragrance.
Cinthol then launched its lime variant with handsome dudes like Vinod Khanna and Imran Khan that had all the girls swooning over.
Ever since, the soap market has changed and Cinthol has sort of slipped through the conscious. I never considered that soap, and retailers had also tucked the soap away in some corner of their soap section.
Recently when I saw the TV commercial for Godrej Cinthol, I was curious to see how the brand had undergone a change. I was also curious to try the soap.
I went to the large supermarket with innumerable varieties of soaps in their soap section. Handmade, coldpressed, flavoured, scented, ayurvedic etc. I saw Cinthol on the lowest shelf and had to stoop to dig it up. The soap had undergone a change in packaging. It was simple and minimalistic with colours that were a dirty kind of grey, blue, red and yellow. I picked up to smell it. It was the same smell. I was no longer curious. I kept the soap back.
Perhaps I am not the target audience. The makers as well as the ad agency had explained that Cinthol was meant for today’s youth who want to live life to the fullest. I did not see any special POP displays or the message taken any further than that. The packaging was dull and boring. Nothing alive or awesome about it. What a let down.
The TV commercial went overboard with the message. But has it worked for the brand?