Dettol Instant hand Santizer

Dettol: Instant hand Santizer

Usage Contexts and Attributes of the Product: Possible Advertising Themes

The product being advertised is an Instant Hand Sanitizer. A hand sanitizer’s value proposition is that it kills 99.99% of the most common germs that may cause illness. Its relative advantage compared to a normal soap is that it can be used anytime, anyplace, without water or towels. Its disadvantage is that though it is very effective at killing germs on the hands, but it is not effective at removing dirt. Conversely, soap and water are very effective at cleaning dirty or soiled hands, but are not good at killing germs.

So, a result, communication for an Instant Hand Sanitizer must concentrate on two points:

• 99.99 % Germ Killing Formulation
• No need of water/towels, making it anytime, anywhere

The Target Audience for usage of an Instant Hand Sanitizer must also be made aware of the need of using such a product. This need must be such where an ordinary soap and water combination would not do. This can be created by using a usage context where having hands germ free is important. Examples of the same could be:

a) Before handling/eating food
b) Before handling infants
c) In hospitals, for doctors and nurses, before and after handling patients

In these scenarios, a realization amongst the TG can easily made that a Hand Sanitizer would be a much more effective option compared to a soap, which does not kill all the germs.

The second theme could be focussing on the anytime/anywhere part as the usage of the product does not imply use of water or towels. Again scenarios where such a product can be useful must be shown to highlight the anytime/anywhere aspect of the product. These could be:

a) Use by people on the move like
a. Travellers
b. Adventurers, Mountaineers etc
c. Bikers
d. Sales people
b) Use of people outside home
a. Office goers
b. College students

The realization that this product should be used over more traditional products like soaps should be done for the TG. The penetration levels of the product are very low. So, creating awareness about the product and its relative advantages over soaps is very important.

The Advertisement for Dettol Instant Hand Sanitizer

We spoke about two themes on which hand sanitizer advertising could be based on. These were:

a) Speaking about the 99.99% germs killing attribute
b) Speaking about the anytime/anywhere attribute


The advertising of the Dettol Instant Hand Sanitizer does not focus directly on any of the above mentioned themes.

It shows a man’s hand and the various things it is put through in the course of a day. The ad tries to show this without showing any explicit user scenarios or using any text. The creative is about an outstretched hand, which through its various projections, each holding an object, represents a particular user activity.

These range from:

• Eating out
• Handling home appliances and gadgets like the remote
• Driving, filling up gas
• Using the phone
• Working, writing, using the computer

All these contexts are possible sources of germs. The bottle of the Dettol Instant Hand Sanitizer kept besides the outstretched hand is the supposedly the solution the outstretched hand is looking for as a solution for all the ills the hand has to go through in the course of the day. The campaign for Dettol Instant Hand Sanitizer illustrates the fact that germs are everywhere. As explained before, numerous occasions throughout the course of the day are all possible sources of germs.

The text in small font on the bottle itself, stating the product as the Dettol Instant Hand Sanitizer is the cue which helps relate the outstretched hand, affected by the germs causing environment and the bottle, which supposedly is the solution that the hand is looking for. Apart from that there is no body copy in the print ad which states the benefits of the product or its usage. What is highlighted though is the Dettol brand itself, which is easily noticed on the bottle. The strong brand of Dettol lends credibility to the product and gives an impetus to the target audience to look at the AD more carefully.

Target audience

The hand shown in the ad and the contexts in which the hand is shown are typically male. Dettol had in fact made a separate ad for women showing a woman’s outstretched hand with contexts typical to a female. But, the problem of germs is not gender specific. So, in that way, the ad targets both men and women.

One segmentation, which the ad talks about is Psychographic Segmentation based on type of activity. It talks about outdoor activities like driving, eating out and also things like working on the computer or making calls. These and also the shirt worn by the outstretched hand, which is a formal shirt, point to a target audience of office going men or men who are outside for some work or the other.
The relevance of the product is there for such a TG, based by them being involved in activities, in which an anytime/anywhere product for keeping hands germ free is needed. Though the fact that the product is anytime/anywhere is never mentioned is one of the shortcomings of the ad and would be taken up later.


The implied positioning of the product is that of a solution to keeping hands germ free. It is a problem solver to the everyday scenarios which happen in the course of a man’s usual day in life and lead to germs.

Positioning: What it should have been

Positioning should have been on one of the relative advantages that Hand Sanitizers have over soaps.

a) Soaps also kill germs. So, the current positioning of just germ fighting directly competes against soaps, because many of them including Dettol Soap are positioned as Hygiene or germ fighting soaps. On the other hand, a positioning of fighting 99.99% of germs goes much beyond what hygiene or beauty soaps can offer.

b) Anytime, anywhere usage is something on which soaps can never match Hand Sanitizers, because they need the use of water. A positioning on being the anytime/anywhere answer to fighting germs would have created a unique image in the TG’s mind and increased adoption. The print ad in question is too vague to suggest any association with being anytime/anywhere. The only apparent association is of simple germ fighting for the outstretched dirty hand by the bottle of Hand Sanitizer.

Connection between message and target audience

As has already being explained, the print ad shows various scenarios in which a man’s hand is exposed to germs. These are typical to the TG of office going men or men who are involved in outdoor activities. Thus, they can relate and identify with the situations shown. The bottle kept alongside the hand having the Dettol brand is the solution to the everyday problem of keeping hands germ free.

Objectivity of the advertisement

The objective of the ad is to illustrate the need for using the hand sanitizer and the possible benefits obtained through its use. The need for a germ fighter is brought out by showing the out stretched hand in different everyday contexts, But, the specific benefits of using a hand sanitizer, namely, it killing 99.99% of the germs or that it can be used anytime anywhere are not brought out in the hand.

The picture shown is a “fair and accurate representation” of the qualities of a hand sanitizer. There is no body copy or endorser who is talking about any benefits going beyond the core proposition of a hand sanitizer. In that respect, the print ad is very objective, as in it talks about (or shows pictorially), what the product can actually deliver.

Creativity shown in the Ad

Without using any body copy or text, the print ad manages to convey the association of dirty hands and the product. The image of the outstretched itself, appearing in multiple forms, each in different everyday context is unique itself. In would lead to high memorability of the ad and hence recall and association with dirty hands.

Scope for improvement in the advertisement

a) Positioning: This has already being talked about before. In summary, instead of a simple germ fighter, the product should be positioned on the relative advantages it offers over a soap. These include:
a. positioning of fighting 99.99% of germs
b. on being the anytime/anywhere answer to fighting germs

This is especially important for a country like India, where the concept of hand sanitizer is very novel. So, talking about a need which is distinct from the simple hygiene need being successfully fulfilled by soaps is required.

b) The TG appears to be the entire set of men being involved in outdoor activities. In a country where penetration and even awareness of such a product is less, greater trial can be achieved by specifically targeting early adopters who would be more likely to use the product. These could be:
i. Doctors, nurses
ii. Adventurers, Mountaineers etc


Very Insightful.
Especially from the point of view of an MBA student. (At IMT for that matter)
Very Insightful.
Especially from the point of view of an MBA student. (At IMT for that matter)

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