WILD STONE: Understanding ‘Sexy’

Sex always sells. In today’s information-cluttered environment, no other theme could enrapture the entire youth and adult segment as powerfully as it. It is one of the modern marketer’s go-to methods. Nothing proves this like the deluge of recent ads that be labeled ‘raunchy’, ‘naughty’ or even downright too-explicit. But what to do when all brands in your category is following the same route to success? How to make your ‘sexy’ better than their ‘sexy’?

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Do it like Wild Stone of course. The brand was a relatively late entrant in the Male Deodorant category in India – a category already captured by Axe and Set Wet, who enjoyed great benefits of their First-mover advantage and heavy advertising. The marketing strategy used by these giants was the prevalent one used by all those not differentiating as sporty or formal. The communication mainly revolved about the transformation of the uninspiring average Joe into the jealousy-inducing Chick magnet. To better capture the attention of the hormone-laden 15-30 years aged male segment, the communication of all brands had thick sexual overtones. How could Wild Stone play the same card as everyone and still get noticed?

Wild Stone’s strategy to break this clutter was one of personalized overdose. While ‘sexy’ was the buzzword in the segment, the communication was not personalized to the Indian clientele. Axe and Set Wet propagated their message through foreign models in foreign locations. While they did capture attention and communicate, the characters weren’t relatable to the audience. This is where Wild Stone differentiated. Indianizing and deepening the sexual overtones, they communicated through Indian men and women, who the audience can relate to, set in typically Indian scenes like Durga Puja, Holi or Monsoon season.

Wild Stone also better understood the Indian male and their psyche, which is less narcissistic but more passionate than the West. While others promised the user the attention of hordes of girls, Wild Stone promised inciting deep passion and frenzied fantasies in a single woman – Indian, traditional, mysterious and not overtly sexual. Unlike others who were tagged as ‘playful’ and ‘youthful’, Wild Stone became associated with ‘passion’ and ‘mystery’.

This clear differentiation by better understanding the target segment has made Wild Stone the top brand in several states, with universal awareness. Amongst the top three brands in the fastest growing FMCG category today, Wild Stone is all set for success – just because it better understood ‘sexy’.

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Mayank Anand is a PGP2 student at IIMA and a member of Niche. He did his B.Tech. in Information and Technology from IIIT Allahabad (2012 batch)

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4 thoughts on “WILD STONE: Understanding ‘Sexy’”

  1. Hi Mayank,
    Interesting take on the deo industry. Here we see a nice gradation in positioning within the deo industry. Axe- the pioneer in “sexy”. Wildstone differentiating in terms of redefining sexy. But now the market is over crowded with brands each trying to entice the fairer sex,
    In fact it is this very sentiment- that of too much “sexy” – in the deo segment that the recent Nivea ads have positioned themselves against. The future will tell us if Arjun Rampal managed to do something for them.
    Fogg went a step further- completely ignoring sexy for utility. The results are there for all to see, with Fogg now challenging Axe very closely in terms of market share in India.
    It’s scents a very interesting time in the deo industry (forgive the pun)

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