Sunsilk vs. Pantene: “My baby is fairer than yours!”

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 Heba Moeen 9 Comments

Photo courtesy:

I know it’s a bit late to talk about the billboard wars now but some things never fail to fascinate you while failing to persuade you to by their product. Yes! I am talking about the guerilla marketing and naughty kiddo fight started by Sunsilk, that’s interesting to quite an extent and from many aspects of marketing.

It’s like the final ‘Report Day’ when some parents fanatically compare their kid’s report cards with other nerd kid’s or when relatives having the same age group children get involved in a frenzy of cousin comparison at every stage of life . . . or more precisely put, when moms compare their babies’ skin colour, trust me it happens . . . “My baby is fairer than yours!”

Just when Pantene flaunted off it’s billboard with the “You Try, You Decide” campaign, Sunsilk felt the urge of expanding the Telecom war beyond the scope of their industry. In fact the rebuttal “Tried and Decided” doesn’t seem to have any profound effect on the intended target audience.
First of all there’s nothing new about a product that claims to have ‘improved’, ‘new’ or ‘magical’ features or attributes added, it’s merely a tactic to pull the brand from slipping down the slide of the product life cycle from maturity/saturation to decline. Thus, having endorsers to attract the bored customers (those who can relate to these ladies) and a new attempt at packaging from the twisted, curved, back sprained bottle to some geometrically defined gravity friendly packaging is what is called ‘Product Development’. I think so . . . yes... you should think the same! It’s the same target audience attracted with new packaging and well those foreign ladies as well.

So cutting the long story short, Sunsilk ‘Tried and Decided’ to place their billboards facing Pantene’s billboards. They probably lost their focus on the unique selling proposition they had employed and the differentiation in terms of expert endorsements, for a moment, the brand, thought it’s a telecom company and decided to act accordingly . . . WOAH! WOW! Guys you are still selling shampoo and not some mobile phone connection.

What was the use? The target audience is unaffected by this move, people would not buy shampoo brands because of Pantene saying, “Hi! I have been tried by celebrities you better look like them and use me,” or Sunsilk saying, “Helleow! I have been tried and tested in labs on the world’s most beautiful rat with wonderfully long hair so there you go!”

People buy the perfect shampoo based on what suits them and what the influencers or family generally prefer while they are already skeptical about related brands given the remaining strands of hair on their scalps . . . our scalps. Therefore, such claim is rendered futile. So the world’s number 1 brand could be not so number 1 on my hair type and I might prefer a brand recommended by peers or family than by such advertising attraction . . . word of mouth shall prevail to protect thee from evil corporate strategy.

Ok so . . . well. . . when Pantene changed their strategy, Sunsilk did it again, a response proving itself utterly desperate for market share. Reminds me of situations where 0.25 or 0.5 can change a grade for students.

I fear the time when both brands would be doing awful comparative advertising with freaky pictures of hair gone hay wire or electrocuted after the use of the competitor’s brand. If they do it in both their ATL and BTL activities that would be fun to watch and Sunsilk for God’s sake leave our FaceBook walls spam free from your weird online endorsements in the future. . . ok, ok we shall use you when you desperately say, “USE ME!” and Pantene we can try to relate to your ladies, I’m sure most of us already have.

Hey! Hey . .. My baby is still fairer than yours so beware . . . :P

Disclaimer: I like both brands ... now what to do?

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  1. Funny billboards: Chopped heads of models (even male/kids) for JJ eid selection and naqab poosh models for shahid afridi's new lawn...what a Islamic marketing concept....well sunsilk's new compaign still look reasonable..Just imagin the future marketing of cosmetic products..u may find a bufflow orr cow wearing sucks

  2. Hi Naveed!

    It's interesting to know how many have jumped into a mee-too marketing strategy for doing such business, same goes for education ...

    I agree with what you pointed out, it's probably a moulvi style of business, why then have models in the first place, I mean the rest of the body is visible weather their faces are covered or 'butchered off' ... :)

    I like your imagination about animals and cosmetics! :P

    Thanks for dropping in!

  3. They got paid for the Job and to display her body and shots were taken. Now whats the point for taking the heads off. Better is to use Dummies, More appropriate way I will say. cutting heads off means showing intentionally that look what am I doing so please follow me.

    Its Halal Clothing :) so what if its Reshmi Kurta for Men.

    Afridi bhai can have girls in his commercials and can have Fair n Lovely but want a naqab for his brand

  4. LOL! I guess that's their way of doing 'Halal Marketing' where guys can even wear red and orange colours not actually appreciated to be worn by men in usual circumstances ...

  5. Thanks God you have not mentioned PINK init :) Btw Arnt you on FB so its easy to catchup with new posts or any emailing system?

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  7. I don't have an FB page specifically meant for this blog but you can subscribe to my RSS feed or follow this blog ... I often share through Google + and Twitter as well. :)
    And yes 'pink' is in for guys these days, so says my male friend! Haha!

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