Mysore Sandal Millennium, the launch of India's most expensive soap

Srinivas Reddy (Singapore Management University)
Havovi Joshi (Singapore Management University)

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies

ISSN: 2045-0621

Publication date: 14 July 2014


Subject area

Marketing, innovation, strategy.

Study level/applicability

Undergraduate, post-graduate and executive education.

Case overview

This case is set in January 2012, a few days before the launch of Mysore Sandal 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. 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. 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. The question remains as to how KS&DL could best go about executing and communicating its strategy to make this launch a success.

Expected learning outcomes

This case provides students the opportunity to learn about the challenges faced when a company launches a new brand, particularly a luxury brand in a developing country such as India. Through this case, students will learn about the concepts of brand extension, and, above all, vertical brand extension. It can also be used to discuss the spill-over effects of the launch (and its success) on other existing brands of the company, as well as the overall corporate brand.

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes are available for educators only. Please contact your library to gain login details or email: to request teaching notes.



© Srinivas Reddy and Havovi Joshi

Disclaimer. This case is written solely for educational purposes and is not intended to represent successful or unsuccessful managerial decision making. The author/s may have disguised names; financial and other recognizable information to protect confidentiality.


Reddy, S. and Joshi, H. (2014), "Mysore Sandal Millennium, the launch of India's most expensive soap", Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, Vol. 4 No. 2.

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