Mysore Sandals Millennium: The Launch of India’s Most Expensive Soap

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Year Completed



This case is set in January 2012, a few days before the launch of Mysore Sandals Millennium, a super-premium luxury soap offering from the Indian public sector enterprise, Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Ltd (“KS&DL”). Three years of research had been put into this product, which contained some of the finest, high-quality ingredients such as Almond oil, along with the pure and natural sandalwood oil that the company prided itself on sourcing. It was to be targeted at the top-end consumer segment, and was priced at INR 720 (US$12.6) for a 150 grams bar – making it the most expensive Indian soap in the market - where the premium range was available for as low as about INR 20 (US$0.35) a bar. KS&DL had over the past decade or so observed a significant fall in brand image for its signature product, the Mysore Sandalwood soap. While this soap had for many years been considered the premium brand in India, it had lost its place when well-known foreign brands became available in India, and local manufacturers moved towards this segment, manufacturing a whole new range of competitive products such as liquid body washes and gels. It was with an aim to rebuild its image that the company decided to launch the Millennium soap. This soap contained almost five times the amount of expensive sandalwood oil used in the regular Mysore Sandals, which also implied that its cost was substantially higher.

KS&DL was clear that the product would be initially aimed at the high income Indians, and then move to expand into the overseas market. However, it remained to be seen if the company could be truly successful in marketing a product priced at a level which would make it unaffordable to most Indians, other than a very thin layer of the ultra-rich. How could KS&DL best go about executing and communicating its launch strategy? Would this launch be a success? Would the successful launch of Millennium provide a foundation to create one of the first luxury brands coming out of India?


Developing Countries, Emerging Markets, Growth Strategy, Market Share, Consumer Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Product Development, Brand Extension, Branding, Luxury Branding, Vertical Brand Extension, Product Launch


Advertising and Promotion Management | Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Marketing | Strategic Management Policy

Data Source

Field Research


Consumer Goods

Geographic Coverage


Temporal Coverage


Education Level

Executive Education; Postgraduate; Undergraduate


Singapore Management University

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