Air pollution: As humans choke, brands make a killing

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Published: November 10, 2019 2:55:08 AM

l Not only are anti-pollution products selling fast, brands are pegging products as anti-pollution

Air pollution, Anti-pollution, Amazon India, air purifier, air purifier sales, Dabur Chyawanprash, face masks, Gur Channa, air-purifying plantsFMCG players are boasting of immunity boosters and skin and hair care that get rid of pollution effects.

Anti-pollution is the hot word right now as far as marketing campaigns go. Anything that claims to fight pollution is selling briskly. As northern India reels under hazardous air quality levels, it is understandable that people are desperate to combat the ill effects as best as they can through products and services. And, brands are quick to capitalise on this demand.

Air purifiers are currently the hottest selling item in this part of the country, with significant spike in sales and new launches everyday. Most pharmacies have run out of face masks. An Amazon India spokesperson says air purifier sales have surged three times since Diwali.

FMCG players are boasting of immunity boosters and skin and hair care that get rid of pollution effects. Take Dabur India’s Chyawanprash, for instance. For long, the product has been touted as one that boosts immunity in general.

However, since the past few days, the brand has been advertising its key product across platforms as one that doubles immunity against the backdrop of rising smog. “Dabur Chyawanprash is an ayurvedic medicine that has been tested in scientific studies where its protective effects on regular consumption were observed against harm caused by air pollutants such as particulate matter 2.5 (PM 2.5), and it showed promising anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory potentials. Our campaign has been prepared basis these studies,” says Prashant Agarwal, head of marketing, health supplements, at Dabur India.

In the consumables segment, snacks brand Sattviko has started selling its signature Gur Channa as a pollution buster. “As two independent elements, channa (gram) is key in boosting immunity and gur (jaggery) is known to flush out pollutants from our body, we realised that the product would work as an antidote to pollution. Since we have tie-ups with a lot of schools across the city and children are actually most affected by rising levels of pollution, we started pushing the product as one that also fights the ill-effects of it,” says Prasoon Gupta, founder of Delhi-based Sattviko. The product is available across stores and e-commerce platforms for as little as R10, and contributes 15% to the company’s topline.

Flower and gifts retailer Ferns N Petals is peddling a variety of air-purifying plants as optimal gifts to help people breathe freely. Ride-hailing company Uber recently launched a #LeaveYourCarBehind campaign in the capital, offering discounts and promo codes titled ‘Delhi Clean Air’. Sales of food and grocery delivering companies like Swiggy and BigBasket have increased in Delhi-NCR a people are reluctant to venture out. Beauty and wellness services providers like Yes Madam, which provide stay-at-home salon services, has also recorded a spike in its bookings.

Organic skin and hair care brand Kama Ayurveda has a blog on its website titled ‘Guide to anti-pollution skin care post Diwali’ featuring a number of products that can “reverse the effects of pollution and and heal the skin”. Vegan beauty brand Plum recently launched green tea products that fight pollution. Cosmetics brand Avon has been marketing its “Anew” range of creams as anti-environmental harm as opposed to wrinkle-free or sun protection earlier. Super Smelly, a toxin-free moisturiser and deodorant brand, claims to be anti-pollution. Leading brands like Clinique, Ponds, Forest Essentials, Organic Riot, PeeSafe, Kaya and Skinella also have a range of anti-pollution skin-care face washes, packs and serums in their portfolio.

“The truth is we are facing a national emergency right now, and everyone is just trying to capitalise on it. Frankly, I cannot understand how something that goes inside your belly will help your ailing lungs,” says Jai Dhar Gupta, an environmentalist and founder of Nirvana Being that sells masks and purifiers to combat pollution.

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