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j o urne y f e v i c o l

Not all products become generic to the product category.

Fevicols 50-plus years of single-handed dominance of the
white glue market in India is a testimony not only to the
brands inherent strength and quality but is also about the
ingenuity of its advertising and marketing campaigns, which
have helped it own the territory of bonding seamlessly

Over 50
years of

30 4ps BUSINESS AND MARKETING 15 february - 14 march 2013

Anirudh Raheja

our years ago, Pidilite Industries,

the largest adhesive manufacturer in India, celeberated 50
years of enduring success of its
Fevicol brand. These past five decades
have been a magical journey for the
brand, which is the largest selling adhesive in Asia with a presence in over 50
countries. Not only has Fevicol become
synonymous with glue in India, its extensions such as Feviquik, Fevistick, Fevitite
are being used in schools, offices, households and do-it-yourself segments, making the brand a part of every Indians
vocabulary. From the school-going kid
who uses the Fevicol adhesive for his arts
and crafts lessons to the neighbourhood
carpenter who considers Fevicol his best
friend, the brand has come to forge an
inseparable bond with people who influence the product consultants, builders,
architects and carpenters. So its not
surprising that even the latest Bollywood
blockbuster Dabaang 2 has an item
song, whose lyrics Chipka Le Saiyan
Fevicol Se seems like a paean to the
bonding strngth of Fevicol.
But the manner in which a utilitarian
product transformed itself into becoming
one of Indias top brands is a fascinating
saga of brand journey, which Fevicol has
traversed over the last five decades. The
first stretch of this journey began in 1954
when Pidilite founder Balvant Parekh
started out as a small trader. He and
brother Sushil, who is Pidilites Vice
Chairman, took to manufacturing pigment emulsions that were used for textile
printing. At that time these had to be
imported and cost much time, money
and effort. In 1959 the brothers spotted
an opportunity to make synthetic glue to
replace the natural glue that carpenters
were using at the time. The Parekh
brothers figured they would have a ready
market if they could make a cheaper
product locally. Thus was born Fevicol.
For the first 5-7 years the challenge
before Pidilite was to make Fevicol the
most preferred glue for making furniture. As the trade was used to glues
based on natural products, selling a synthetic glue was a difficult proposition,
which required patient working with the
end users. Fevicol also had to contend
with some other small-scale local manufacturers of white glue and multinational brands like Movicol (currently

From a utilitarian product Fevicol

transformed itself into becoming
one of Indias top brands
discontinued). These products were
marketed through hardware stores and
timber marts. In order to wean away
end-users from natural glues and other synthetic adhesives available at the
time, Fevicol embarked on a bold marketing game plan. Instead of selling
through stores, Fevicol approached carpenters directly. This direct marketing
initiative was one of the most successful strategies employed by the company
and helped the brand gain a strong
foothold in the white glue market.
With its signature white and blue
packing, Fevicol was marketed directly
to consumers (majorly carpenters)
against competitors like Movicol, which
were only available at hardware stores.
And it has been a continuous evolution
of retail strategies with product line
extensions and packaging transition
that have scripted the success story for
Fevicol and helped it become a generic
household name in the white glue category. One of the USPs of the brand
has been its ease of application. Back
in 1970, a 30-gram collapsible tube was
launched as a part of Fevicols first

product line extension, followed by numerous user-friendly packings that

have kept the process of reinvention on.
This was again a smart strategy in view
of the fact that the cost of adhesive
comprises only 1%-2% of the entire
furnitures cost, and so the major challenge before the brand was to make
carpenters understand the need for using a quality product.
This process of engagement with
end-users, which Fevicol has achieved
over the years by introducing a series
of programs for carpenters, has helped
it build a strong relationship with them.
The company introduced Fevicol Furniture Books which showcased furniture designs with illustrations and
measurements. These books helped
enlighten carpenters on new styles and
trends in the furniture market, apart
from building awareness for the brand.
The Fevicol Champions Club (FCC)
was another initiative introduced by the
company. It served as a platform for
carpenters to increase their social contacts and be part of a social network.
These initiatives in turn have ad-

15 february - 14 March 2013 4ps BUSINESS AND MARKETING 31

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Pidilites sales break-up (FY12)

Adhesives lead by a big margin





Adhesives & Sealants

Constructions & Paints
Art materials
and others
Industrail resins
Industrial adhesives
pigments and preparations

Source: Company reports

A print ad shows how eggs joined by Fevicol are unbreakable. All Fevicol ads have a tinge
of humour to them, which helps them break out of the clutter and entertain viewers

dressed a dual purpose for the company

it has kept updated the TGs knowledge and helped refresh their awareness
about the brand itself. In order to maximize the brands recall factor, Fevicol has
lots of interesting tie-ups with the industry by way of sponsorships, training programmes, product demonstrations, etc.
Says Vishal Malhan, Chief of Marketing,
Fevicol, In the 53 years of Fevicols journey in India, the first 30 years were all
spent on winning the trust of applicators
and consumers. This phase continued
from 1959 to the mid 1980s, or till the
late 80s. Then the next 20 years were all
about building the proposition and owning the proposition of bonding from
the 1990s to 2010. Around this time, we
also started offering more specialized
variants to the consumers, and the current phase is about developing new and
innovative variants.
As a flagship product of the Rs.137.72
billion Pidilite Industries, Fevicol commands a 70% market share in in the
white glue segment. Today over 40% of
Pidilites turnover comes from Fevicol
while the rest comes from its other
brands such as Ranipal, M-Seal and others. Such a formidable grip on market
share would make any brand preen with
pride and act smug. Not Fevicol. The
brand has never lost sight of the fact that
it must stay relevant through constant
repackaging and introduction of new
variants. As such the ever-familiar blue

and white tub of Fevicol has witnessed

the introduction of new variants at regular intervals. Through repackaging, the
brand became available in tubes, then
glue-sticks (Fevistick), Fevicol Glue
Drop and other usage-friendly versions.
The brand has also spawned off subbrands comprising other products such
as Fevicryl (arts and crafts products) and
Fevikwik (instant glue). In the industrial space, Fevicols latest variants include Marine Fevicol (launched in 2010)
and Fevicol SpeedX (2012). Fevicol Marine provides very strong and durable
bond even when exposed to water while
SpeedX is a quick drying adhesive that
saves time and enhances productivity,
says Malhan.
While these variants have helped to
successfully create niche adhesive categories besides strengthening the overall brand equity of the mother brand,
Fevicols creatives and TV campaigns,
handled by advertising house Ogilvy &
Mather, have further helped to reinforce the big idea about Fevicols bonding strength. For instance, the TV
campaign for Fevicol Marine reiterates
its strong bond in water with the tagline
Wahi mazboot jod, paani mein bhi. In
fact the creative strategy that O&M has
employed for Fevicol is to make bonding a Fevicol attribute, and its advertising has used intelligent humour to
convey this meaning. Although Fevicol
is not a consumer product, but it has

32 4ps BUSINESS AND MARKETING 15 february - 14 march 2013

managed to reach out to every Indian

thanks to the brilliance and humour of
the campaigns, says Abhijit Avasthi,
National Creative Director, O&M.
Thanks to Fevicols continuously innovative approach to own bonding
through a mix of communication strategies that are imbued with a touch of
humour and come peppered with typical Indian flavour in catch phrases like
Dum laga kar haisa, zor laga kar haisya and Pakade rehna, chhodana
nahi, Fevicol today owns the territory
of bonding seamlessly. Today everyone
asks for Fevicol and not adhesive.
Picking out simple events of life, marrying these with the brands message
and picturizing it in such a manner that
the audience can find a connect with
the brand has been the philosophy of
all the campaigns that we have done for
Fevicol, says Avasthi.
Thanks to its consistent quality, efficient distribution network and commendable CRM practices, Fevicol has
been able to establish itself deep into
the minds of consumers. It did not have
much competition to start with and half
a decade later it finds itself on an even
stronger perch with a little help from its
smarketing campaigns, which will likely
keep it in the numero uno spot for many
more years to come. Just like one of its
TV ads with the tag line Yeh Fevicol ka
mazboot jod hai, tootega nahi, which
has been playing on the television for
over two decades now, Fevicols overriding dominance in the glue market looks
unshakable and unwavering. 4Ps

15 february - 14 March 2013 4ps BUSINESS AND MARKETING 33

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we will offer more

specialised fevicol variants
fevicol is now part of the public consciousness but is not sitting on its laurels.
The brand is ready for the future and will launch more niche products.
Ashish Kumar

Vishal Malhan
Chief of Marketing,

As far as
are concerned, we
would like
to continue
the strategy
of offering
superior and
variants under the Fevicol name

How has Brand Fevicol evolved over the

years has this evolution strengthened
the brands key attributes?
We have always found innovative ways to tell
people that Fevicol is the ultimate adhesive.
In fact, since the time we started investing
on brand building, Fevicol has made initiatives, which have appealed to everyone and
has helped us in owning this proposition of
bonding. Starting with Fevicol Marine in
2010, we had come out with the campaign
showcasing the bonding strength of Fevicol
even when furniture is exposed to water.
Three years down the line the sales of Fevicol Marine has shot up by nine times. Similarly, learning from the experience of Fevicol Marine, Fevicol SpeedX was introduced
in 2012, which gives you the same bonding
strength of Fevicol but at a much faster
speed. In the last one year the business for
Fevicol SpeedX has grown three times in
less than a year of its launch.
The specialised offerings seem have
worked well for the mother brand. Are
you also thinking of leveraging the
Fevicol brand for launching more new
I agree that specialised offerings have
worked well for us. Obviously the association with Fevicol makes our work much
easier in extending the portfolio as the
brand symbolises trust and quality. So, that
is something we would not like to change
even when we are diversifying into offering
new solutions. But as far as adhesives are
concerned, we would like to continue the
strategy of offering superior and specialised
variants under the Fevicol name.
So what are your plans for taking the
brand into the future?
Fevicol is now a 53-year-old brand. The
first 30 years, in fact, was all about winning
the trust of consumers. Thanks to the
quality of the product, Fevicol has success-

34 4ps BUSINESS AND MARKETING 15 february - 14 march 2013

fully established itself as the first choice in

the adhesive market. This phase, of building trust, continued from 1959 to the mid
1980s, or till the late 80s. The next 20
years were all about building the brand
proposition, which lasted from the 1990s
to 2009/2010. That describes the journey
Fevicol had for first 30 years and for the
next 20. Thereafter, we have adopted the
approach of strengthening the brand and
at the same time offering more specialised
variants to consumers. But the mother
brand remains most critical to our business and you will get to see a lot of initiatives and a lot of creative work happening
on the mother brand in the days ahead.
Your reach is pan-India now you are
present in rural India, you are selling in
tier 2 & 3 cities. So what are your plans
now in terms of distribution logistics?
We are present in more than 60,000 outlets
across the country. But the next challenge
is how to reach beyond tier 2 & 3 markets.
We have formed a separate team, which is
helping us now to reach to markets which
have a population size of less than 10,000.
And we have also formed a separate vertical, which connects all the markets with a
population of less than 10,000. In this manner we have been able to cover more than
5,000 such markets apart from the mainline cities.


Whats the difference in your marketing mix now as compared to the 1950s
or the 60s?
Fevicol today has become part of our popular culture so it is not only about advertising. We are now very conscious of the role
played by social media and that is something which is now part of our media mix
going forward. The next challenge is going
to be how effectively we make use of it to
reach out to people, whom we may have
have missed out on so far. 4Ps

15 february - 14 March 2013 4ps BUSINESS AND MARKETING 35

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Humour in the message helps

consumers connect to Fevicol
coming up with innovative and humorous ad campaigns year after year is
not an easy job. But ogilvy & Mather has been doing just that for fevicol
Ashish Kumar

Abhijit Avasthi
National Creative
Director O&M

The ads
are not just
but they also
have an accompanying
that help to
better appreciate and understand the

Please tell us about your agencys association with brand Fevicol and how
fruitful has been this relationship?
We have been associated with Brand Fevicol
for the last 35-40 years and it has been a
fantastic experience working for the brand
all these years. Our creatives and campaigns
for Fevicol have brought a lot of fame and
acclaim for Ogilvy & Mather. The campaigns have also done extremely well for
building Brand Fevicol over the years. Although Fevicol is not a consumer product,
but it has managed to reach out to every
Indian, thanks to the brilliance and humour
behind the campaigns.

Fevicol has managed to ensure a high
recall value for the brand even in todays highly competitive environment
and in spite of belonging to a largely
B2B product category. How do you explain its success?
There are multiple reasons for the success
of Brand Fevicol. First of all, you need to
applaud the courage shown by the client.
They have always encouraged us to do stuff,
which was out-of-the box. Be it the television ads, radio voice-overs or billboards, the
same brief has been followed. This is why
we have managed to surprise as well as
charm the audience every time we come out
with a new campaign.
Many campaigns and ads take the path
of controversy when they are released
in order to grab eyeballs. On the other
hand, Fevicol has always used humour
to reach out to the audience. What is
your take on this?
These are some very subjective areas. Some
people thrive on controversy and some others dont. Ogilvy as well as Fevicol believe in
keeping people laughing. We believe that
this way consumers remember the brand
better. The ads are not just humorous but
they also have an accompanying sensibility

36 4ps BUSINESS AND MARKETING 15 february - 14 march 2013

that help to better appreciate and understand the message. But a viewer has to make
the final interpretation on his own. Picking
out simple events of life, marrying these
with the brands message and picturizing it
in such a manner that the audience can find
a connect with the brands message has
been the philosophy of all the campaigns
that we have done for Fevicol.
Can you share some of the more memorable anecdotes and incidents that you
came across during this long lasting relationship with the brand?
There are many incidents to share. But the
most amazing thing about Fevicol is that everybody in the country has a fair idea of Fevicols TVCs. Wherever I go, when people get
to know that I work for TVCs of Fevicol and
they always come up with their own suggestions. For instance it happened when we were
returning from Jaisalmer after shooting for
Fevicols bus ad. The security in-charge at
the airport discovered my profile and he said
that he has an idea for the Fevicol ad. These
are some moments which make you realize
the value of your work. Similarly, we receive
a lot of mails every day, offering suggestions
on these TVCs.
What have been the challenges in working with such a brand?
Of course, there are challenges. To be able
to make people laugh and surprise them year
after year is not easy. With every passing campaign, this becomes tougher.
With the evolution of things like social
media and other tools of communication, have you made any changes in the
way these campaigns are designed?
We believe that the most important part of
any campaign is the idea behind it. The idea
gets adapted according to the medium. The
fundamental approach does not change with
the medium. 4Ps