Horlicks is amongst the most well-known brands around in India, with a very large market share in the HFD (Health Food Drinks) segment. It has many variants operational here: Women’s, Juniors’, Lite, and even Chill Dood.
But in recent times, the parent company, GSK has launched multiple line and brand extensions to this brand ranging from Nutribars, Foodles, Biscuits and what not.
I believe that this expansion into a spread of products is not helping. It does not particularly affect Horlicks HFD, since it already enjoys a pretty good recall with the customers. My opinion is that it is not helping with the other products either. This kind of endorsement does not push a consumer to buy, say a Nutribar because it is a Horlicks product. Worse still, with some of the products not doing so well, it hits the Horlicks brand image.
Another factor about association of products with the brand name ‘Horlicks’: Lets understand that Horlicks has brand connotations such as ‘healthy’, ‘nutritious’ as well as ‘boringly healthy’. It associates with childhood, I agree, but not to the fun aspect of childhood. Horlicks does not really remind people of ‘good old childhood days’ (unlike products like Gems or Frooti). One reason for this is that Horlicks is not the ‘kids’ choice, it is the parents’ choice. A kid would ask for a Gems, but it would be a parent who would insist on buying the pack of Horlicks (a daily glass of milk is still a chore, even if it is glamorised by a lot of HFDs)
So, while the quality of the product is never at question, the associations are.
Next, one thing which seems to have been forgotten by the R&D department of GSK is that while there is a paradigm shift to healthy foods by customers, the Indian Consumer does not look for health at the cost of taste. A prime example of the same is that Maggi’s own Vegetable and Atta Noodles variants have failed inspite of being healthy because they compromised on the taste. Similarly, the new Horlicks products are too strongly positioned on Health and not on taste (Maggi on the other hand has a ‘taste bhi, health bhi‘ campaign)
Horlicks has also tried to do a binding act with a campaign indicating its status as the umbrella brand of being the ‘great family nourisher’, but frankly, I am not too impressed by it. Check it out for yourself (Horlicks: Umbrella Brand Campaign)
IMO, Horlicks should have been restricted to HFD and variants, while a new umbrella brand could have been launched for all the health based extensions.