Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Butterfly breathables

Published in Jan-Feb 2016

Santex Products launched a new product called Butterfly Breathables.

If you were a Pakistani woman living in the 80s and 90s, chances are you were familiar with the distinct white wrapping of Butterfly sanitary napkins that dominated the market. It was a revolutionary product for a target market of cloth users. Yet, despite becoming a household name, Butterfly eventually disappeared from the market, while Always, a P&G brand, ramped up its presence with huge marketing and advertising campaigns.

However, in 2015, Santex Products (owners of the Butterfly brand) launched a new product called Butterfly Breathables, despite the presence of several competitor brands including Always (68% market share), Trust, Freedom and imported brands such Kotex and Stayfree, Neetex, Mothercare, Cleopatra, Softex and Density. The opportunity in this market is immense because out of the estimated 40 million Pakistani women between the ages of 15 to 40, only 30% use branded sanitary napkins.

Despite having the first mover advantage, Butterfly was unable to gain leadership (it currently accounts for 12% of market share).

Syed Umair Ali, Product Manager, Santex Products says this was because “in the 80s, the market was not developed enough and then in the 90s, when P&G began advertising the gel-based Always, we took a hiatus because the market was too hostile.”

This essentially translates into the fact that initially Santex did not have the marketing budget to promote Butterfly and once the marketing might of P&G came into the picture, the company was simply unable to compete. However, in 2010, with new Director, Talha Rehman, at the helm, work on developing a new products began and this year Breathables has been added to Butterfly’s existing range.

Butterfly’s evolution to thin, gel-based Breathables was essential given the market trends. Rahman says the new product is superior to any other competitor in the market. Butterfly Breathables comes in two variants: the breathable napkin with a cotton sheet (launched in February 2015) for consumers with sensitive skin, and another with a net top sheet (launched in November 2015) for those with normal skin.

“Not only is it a breathable product which is more hygienic, but added features such as cotton side wings make it more absorbent.

By default, as in international markets, a sanitary napkin should be breathable. However, in Pakistan, only Butterfly Breathables offers this quality.”

Priced at Rs 120 for a pack, Butterfly Breathables is slightly cheaper than Always (priced at Rs 125), and this Rahman says, has been made possible only by “compromising on profits.”

Despite the fact that the market is ripe for conversion, Butterfly does not aim to convert the cloth market and instead only targets the existing 30% consumer base, mainly because Santex still do not have the marketing budgets required for market development.

Keeping this in mind, the advertising campaign launched to promote Butterfly Breathables aims to be very different from Always.

According to Ali, “Always focuses on market development because it has the hefty budgets to afford it. We are more focused on the product and on value addition. Our marketing is also product focused as Breathables is altogether a new value added product in napkins.”

Santex also wanted to stay away from the standard situations shown in sanitary napkin advertising which generally include women in ‘embarrassing’ situations. So the brief to the newly hired agency, Firebolt63, was simple: market the evolved product while keeping in mind the sensitivities of the market.

Business Head, Hasnain Hukumdad and Account Director, Ahmed Ali at Firebolt63, decided that Breathables would not only target teenagers but older demographics as well in the form of working women and stay-at-home moms. Keeping social taboos in mind, Nyda Ahmed, Senior Copywriter at Firebolt63 wanted to come up with lines that would communicate the main qualities of Breathables in a way that women would understand the message and yet not be embarrassed by it.

A two-fold strategy was adopted: an umbrella campaign was introduced with the tagline – ‘Everyday is a good day’ and this was used mainly for OOH advertising. In print, however, the message was more personalised and the line ‘the only spots you need to worry about are beauty spots’ was used. The second part of the strategy was to focus on women’s empowerment and here social media was used to market Breathables through a page called ‘Girl Talk by Butterfly’ (managed by Lowe and Rauf) which aims to build a community for women and to connect with them.

According to Khalid Naseem, Regional Head at Firebolt63, “We are a traditional society which is slowly evolving into a modern one. This transition tends to affect women the most; it also creates tension when they aspire to take life head-on. Butterfly Breathables fits in very well with this mindset; it gives them comfort and makes them feel empowered.”