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February 11, 2011

Effective segmentation and positioning - Horlicks

Growing up is a pain. You romance about it only after you are totally grown up. One of the exciting things about growing up was falling ill. But falling ill is a double edged weapon. You could skip school but you could get loaded up with medicines by your well meaning parents. The worst part was that they could take you to a doctor for an injection. But it was worth it. 

Mothers in India were convinced that giving Horlicks to the child was the best thing especially if the child was ill. The child had to take this white liquid that does not taste very good to become better. The children very quickly realized that Horlicks is better to eat than to drink. Thus began the signature tune that is still running. The boy in the commercial says “I don’t drink Horlicks, I eat it”.

Pan India it was a health drink that had no parallel. Like all the products that were available in India in the 70s and the eighties the packaging was very utilitarian and minimal. Horlicks used to come in a glass bottle and the packaging was as exciting as yesterday’s coffee served cold!

Horlicks meant everything to everybody. It was a health drink that every one consumed. Right from small children to very elderly people. Keeping the nutritional issues aside it was very strange positioning tack.

Horlicks realized this and came out with its own versions of different Horlicks for different customers. Horlicks differentiated products now include

Junior Horlicks – for preschool children.  Keeping the targeted customers in mind the packaging is cute and the package has the picture of a small elephant which is very exciting for the small children.

Horlicks regular - For general use. Regular Horlicks is the health drink for people of all ages. The packaging is contemporary and has great visuals to attract the children and the young adults.

Horlicks mothers – is special nutritional drink with 26 vital nutrients designed keeping the specific needs of the pregnant and breast feeding women. The packaging is very interesting – it is shaped like an hours glass. Hour glass is the shape that all women crave for and this craving is subtly cashed by Horlicks by making its "Horlicks mothers” shaped like a house glass.

Horlicks Lite and Lite bite - A nutritional drink and snack specially designed for all health conscious adults and is also suitable for use by people with diabetes.  The packaging again is very interesting. The Horlicks Lite is thin and tall. The Horlicks Lite drinkers are health conscious and having a thin frame is a desire among these customers.

This Horlicks proves that segmentation could be a very efficient way of holding on and even increasing one's market share. What is needed is a clear focus and clever innovations in adapting the product to the changing needs of the customers. It also would mean tinkering with the product design and packaging to make it more appealing to the target customers.


  1. As per my view, Horlicks marketing strategy is different to different type of segmentation and clearly understand the perception of their target group. Still horliks is the loveable product to the children. Rajesh Pershad

  2. As per my perception, Horlicks mainly targeted on children and toddlers in the mid 2000's with the tagline 'Taller, stronger and sharper' which led to the need for it as a basic commodity substituting just plain milk at a reasonable price with various flavours adding to its list of products and children enjoying it as a energy drink and leading the product on the top most level of its competitors!

  3. Horlicks was one of the top three drink mixes in Jamaica, Milo and Ovaltine were the other two..