If you walked out on the road and asked men randomly to name a men’s brand of soap, chances are most of them would say Cinthol. It is tragic almost how a brand with such strong resonance in the minds of the consumers has had such little success in scaling up and building a bigger presence.


From deodorants to talcs, from Hrithik Roshan aptly jumping off the cliff to Alive is Awesome, Cinthol has had more than 9 lives that cats proverbially have. The more you think about it, the less sense it makes. On paper it has everything going for itself. How many strong male-only brands exist in the domestic space anyways? Park Avenue? What else? Fair & Handsome thanks to its cheap knock off name will never be in the masculine domain that Cinthol is placed in.


The most iconic Cinthol image is probably Vinod Khanna riding a horse and the Voice over pitching it as a “Body Confidence” soap. If only Godrej would have bothered to stick to it. It worked because it played out to men’s fantasy. How? Because at least in the 80s, no man in India ever imagined he could be sexually desirable to a woman. Vinod Khanna riding a horse was an image of virility and male sexuality that was never seen before. Notice how the other 80s campaign that people still remember is the Bombay Dyeing Dream-Man campaign?


The ad was spot on! It tapped into telling men that Cinthol gave them “body confidence” which loosely translated into an unabashed belief in their own masculinity and sex appeal.

The reason Cinthol doesn’t work anymore is because it is neither masculine nor has sex appeal any more.

Hrithik Roshan was probably the worst possible choice as an ambassador. The man is dumb as a post; has no core values except genetically good looks which he wastes on stupid endorsements from Acer laptops to Macroman chaddis. Contrast that with how Kareena Kapoor also known for her good looks goes about things. She is invariably the glam goddess. Whether it is Lux, Lakme or even Vaio laptops. “Good-Looking” is her core.


I am guessing Cinthol tried to get the sex-appeal via Hrithik, but that campaign killed whatever was left of it. Why was he ‘running’, ‘leaping’ ad ‘flying’ looking all tensed and thrilled instead of happy and content that Vinod Khanna looked? After a while you really wanted him to drop off that building and die.


Masculine and effortlessly sexy is what Cinthol was all about. Over decades Godrej seems to have killed the masculinity, the effortless and the sexy part. Wonder what is it about today !


I could see Cinthol extend in deodorant, hair gels and everything to do with male grooming. Hell I could even see Cinthol come up with its own version of an annual Kingfisher Calendar with images of Men showering and having fun. Build it into a most coveted reality show prize in fact. This is a country that has given Roadies and Splitsvilla 10 seasons. Need I say more?  It could make Cinthol younger as well.


Instead, I am witnessing a stupid deo-stick campaign that is trying to be tongue-in-cheek. When did Cinthol become a “FUN” brand anyway?

Annoyed as fuck. Such a Golden brand sacrificed at the altars of marketers who refuse to bite the bullet and make it into a unabashedly sexy brand that it actually is.




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