This has been bothering me. Has it been bothering you?  When last did you see Sure deodorant spray on the shelves of any store? You’ll be lucky to even see it in a store that is strictly cosmetics and beauty products.

I’m very sad about this. I mean, what does a nigga gotta do to smell decent, huh?
You should be upset too, unless you have a preferred brand, then please I’d like a recommendation. Or maybe you have a winning personality so you don’t have to smell good to attract people. If that works for you, kudos.

At this point, I must have been have been through almost 10 different brands of anti-perspirants that guarantee 24 hours freshness and sell me bogus dreams. I don’t even remember the last time I hugged another human being because of how caring I am. So in my deep pain I set out to find out what happened to the production of my choice deodorant. This is what I found.

“The SURE brand, from Unilever Nigeria is arguably the most popular and widely patronized deodorant in the Nigerian market, with a value share of over 28 per cent. Its popularity among consumers is supported by the fact that it is widely available in retail outlets, benefitting from Unilever’s extensive distribution network in the country.
Having successfully entrenched itself as a stronghold in the Nigerian Deodorant market with the name SURE, one wonders why Unilever Nigeria is extremely confident of replacing the SURE name for Rexona.  There is the saying after all, that ‘You don’t fix it when it’s not broken’ and, in other words ‘Why change the winning formula?’
Though SURE and Rexona are exactly the same and are manufactured by British-Dutch company, Unilever, the company markets the product under the Rexona name in a number of other countries. While it is known as SURE in the UK, it is marketed as Degree in the United States of America and Canada, as Rexena in Japan and Korea and as Shield in South Africa.
Speaking on why it is introducing Rexona into the Nigerian deodorant market, Category Manager, Skin Care and Deodorants, Unilever Nigeria Plc, James Inglesby, explained that it is a strategic move to tap into the huge opportunities that the Nigerian market presents, in order to further boost its market and mind share globally.  “The Nigerian market holds huge potentials for us.  About 170 million people live in Nigeria. That means we have 340 million armpits that need deodorant. Besides, what we are also trying to do is to help use Rexona deodorant bring people’s confidence back. Once people start sweating and smelling, they begin to lose confidence. We are here to restore that confidence,” he stated.
On why Unilever has chosen to rename SURE deodorant as Rexona, Inglesby defended the company’s decision, stating “The reason we brought Rexona to replace SURE is that SURE is only sold in UK. Rexona is a two billion Euros brand globally while SURE only makes 13 per cent of it. So, when you want to launch a new product, you bring the global leader, which is Rexona.
He also explained that bringing Rexona to Nigeria is of multiple benefits. “First, the product that you get now is designed for the UK market and not Nigeria. Also, we’ve looked into what other fragrances that Nigerians want before launching Rexona.
The other thing that we have is earning global sponsorship; everybody can see that we sponsored the World Cup. You can only do that with Rexona, you cannot do that with SURE, because it is only a UK thing, while Rexona is a global brand. It also allows us to bring in innovations, bigger innovations, quicker to Nigerians. That’s why we brought it. So what we offer now is a superior product that has been improved for Nigeria. The Sure deodorant that you know is now coming in improved format as Rexona,” he stated.
While Unilever has begun pushing out campaigns to re-orientate the Nigerian consumers and get their buy-in into Rexona, there could only be two possible outcomes from the move. It’s either the consumers accept Rexona for SURE, and make it the leading deodorant brand, or reject Rexona to settle for competing brands, which could take advantage of the communication gap herein to tap from the pool of confused SURE consumers. What if the latter happens?”- By Blessing Nwobodo

I’m still a bit worried. Yes, Rexona was introduced to the Nigerian Market a while back but lately it seems like supply of that brand has either stopped or it’s extremely slow. Something needs to be done about this because now the store price of the remaining stock of Sure in Nigeria has been inflated to almost double of what consumers are used to paying probably due to the scarcity. I hope Unilever has a plan, that’ll happen soon. I don’t know about you but I need to be SURE again.
-          Saminu Machunga

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