Home insecticides has been the scene of something of an arms race amongst brands to offer consumers the most effective means of dealing with insect threats. Advertising has typically played on this theme and has had a tendency to be fairly, if not overtly, macho in style.
New product launches over the past few years have, however, seen a softer side develop, with “home defence” a new mantra, offering consumers prevention rather than cure. Japan’s Kinchol and its Mushi-konazu range, as well as SC Johnson’s Raid Bug Barrier are two such examples of an ever increasing range of “strategic” products which claim to discourage insects from entering the home and reduce the necessity to deploy “tactical” sprays. While these formats have performed well, especially in Japan, it is interesting to see how consumer preference has migrated from its fixation on efficacy to the more hazy hope for prevention. In either case “fear factor” is still a key driver or the emergence of defence orientated products is an indication that this “fear” of insects is actually becoming more acute rather than less so.
The appearance of brands such as SC Johnson’s Raid Earth Options which contain natural ingredients is also further evidence of a softening the industry is going through in key developed markets. Typically insecticides have been the preserve of male consumers who, unusually for fmcg, find themselves as key decision makers when it comes to insecticide purchases. The use of suffixes such as Max, EX or X in some brand names (designed to indicate heightened efficacy or potency) have helped link branding to the automotive industry. The new, softer touch the industry is moving towards will certainly help engage female consumers who find themselves making more shopping trips than their male counterparts but are excluded from, or at least on the fringes of, the home insecticide category.
The development of this lighter touch will be essential to developing the category further, especially through the supermarket and hypermarket channels, by normalising a product within the mindset of this key, yet still under represented, consumer group.