Iconic Ads: Captain Cook Salt – Extra Free Flow

The problems with the market leader was the lumpiness & non-free flowing quality that affected the taste in food and discomfort in use.

In the 80s/90s, DCW Ltd launched the salt brand in a bid to enter the FMCG space.

The name Captain Cook was based on cues for cooking and also to bring some mystique. Capt Cook was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer and captain in the Royal Navy.

Lintas was hired to kickstart a category that is low value. It did research especially among women on usage, storage, problems of existing salt, and the challenges they faced. The result, the sticky/lumpiness/non-free flowing quality that affected the proportion/taste in food and discomfort in use.

It was the first time any brand was challenging the hegemony of Tata Namak. Captain cook positioned itself as a premium brand, and they priced one kg of salt at Rs. 3 in comparison to Tata salt, which was priced at Rs. 2.

In one of the few pieces of comparative advertising, a sanskaari naari portrayed by popular television actress Sushmita Mukherjee (famous for being Kitty in Karamchand) had a bias to the Mann Pasand Salt (a Tata lookalike). The Voiceover was by Jaaved Jaffrey
Tata Salt promoted itself as the ‘iodized salt’, but Captain Cook was the ‘free-flowing, iodized salt’.

Indians started trying the brand, and the company claimed that ‘it grew by almost 300 per cent’ every year and became a Rs 100 crore brand in its fourth year.

But Indian consumers’ interest in Captain Cook salt was a short-lived affair.

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