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February 26, 2011

Product Adaptations – the Case of the Indian Tooth Powder in the USA

One Indian tooth powder manufacturer had gone to the USA.  He had an appointment to visit one of the super market giants. The product manager at the super market major gave him a patient hearing. He was very appreciative of the tooth powder concept but dismissed it saying “Not practical for US citizens. No one here uses their fingers to clean their teeth. This product will not fare well”.

The Indian tooth powder manufacturer was very depressed. It was a shattering blow. His entire effort was wasted. He suffered losses on product, psychological and on financial fronts. He glumly went to the restroom in his hotel for a wash. As he was washing his hands he was struck with a brain wave.

The super market major had a surprise visitor the next day. It was the same persistent tooth powder manufacturer from India. There was a spring in the Indian's gait. He greeted the product manager “Hello sir, I have a report for the laboratory about the germs that are present in the dirtiest place in the restroom. Would you take a look?”

The product manager gingerly picked the report and read it. The report was a shocker. It detailed the millions of germs, viruses and bacteria that were present in the sample that was sent for analysis. He handed the report back” shocking” he said “I always knew that the toilets seat area had the most germs”.

The Indian responded “Sir, the sample that was sent was not from the toilet seat. The sample that was sent was from the toothbrush that was left in my wash room by the guest who stayed before me. The place that the germs would like to concentrate upon is the wettest area. The wettest place in the restroom is the toilet and the tooth brush, In spite of cleaning daily with water there are millions of germs left. The cleanest part of our body is the hand as we clean it very often and wipe it clean with a cloth or with a tissue. So there is no better way to clean the teeth than using a hand”.

After listening to such a persuasive argument the Product Manager had no choice but agree to stock the tooth powder in his chain of stores. It is not clear what the outcome of this incident. May be the product did well or may be it did not do well. But it showed the dynamism of the manufacturer who came out with an innovative argument in favor of his product.

May be the tooth powder manufacturer could have used the tack of his tooth powder being useful for pets (after making sure that its ingredients are not harmful to the pets). I am sure that such a strategy would have been successful as brushing pets with tooth brushes is quite useless. The dog or the cat would simply chew up the tooth brush. When using a finger the owner can maneuver his finger to ensure that the teeth of his pet are sparkling clean.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you sir for writing such informative blogs by which we can update ourselves about currently used best marketing practices. We as a group of your students will look forward to read many blogs like this in future.

    Thank you!