In Nigeria, millions of people brush their teeth with different brands of toothpaste every day. The country’s large population size provides immense potentials for toothpaste manufacturers hoping to take their shares of the market. This explains why there are at least thirty different toothpaste brands available in the Nigerian market, examples of which are Dabur, Oral-B, Pepsodent, Colgate, Close-Up, etc. Out of the lot, we have chosen to compare Close-Up and Oral-B in this week’s battle of the substitutes.
The history of Close-Up in Nigeria
Close-Up has had a long and successful history in Nigeria ever since its introduction in 1975 by Unilever. Being the only brand in the market for many years enabled it to garner millions of loyal consumers. Today, the brand is still one of the biggest in the country, thanks to good marketing strategies and widespread distribution channels.
Also, Close-Up is constantly being enhanced through innovation in quality, even as it is given needful visibility through creative advertisements. All these have helped to sustain its success.
Close-Up Nigeria is part of a global, very successful brand of gel toothpaste available in North America (USA and Canada), as well as India, Sri Lanka, etc. In Nigeria, the toothpaste brand is still manufactured by Unilever Nigeria Plc.
Oral-B is relatively new in the market, having just been introduced in 2011. This makes it more than thirty years younger than Close-Up. Judging by its relative popularity and success however, it is almost difficult to believe that it has existed for barely a few years. Apparently, Oral-B is leveraging its quality standard and the impeccable track records of Procter & Gamble (its manufacturer) to ensure success.
Much like Close-Up, Oral-B is a global brand. In Nigeria, it is constantly undergoing modification and offering variants to consumers even as strategic advertisement is used to keep it visible.
Similarities between Close-Up and Oral-B
Virtually all toothpaste are composed of the same ingredients. What makes them unique, therefore, is the formulation, the packaging, and the marketing strategy utilised to sell the products’ benefits to the target audience. In this vein, both Close-Up and Oral-B are quality brands. According to Nneka Emmanuel who uses Oral-B and Close-Up, “Both are good in terms of quality. Before the introduction of Oral-B, I used to only brush my teeth with Close-Up toothpaste. When Oral-B came and I tried it, I liked it immediately, just as much as I like Close-Up. So, I’ve been using both alternately ever since.”
Both brands are also manufactured by very reputable companies with good pedigrees. Procter & Gamble and Unilever are two of the biggest consumer goods producers in Nigeria, and indeed the world. For many years, they have been producing essential products that are used every day by Nigerians.
The products are also well-marketed. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons why Close-Up has remained relevant till date is because of the effective marketing strategy adopted by its manufacturer. Similarly, Oral-B was able to achieve astronomical growth, thanks in part to effective marketing.
Both Close-Up and Oral-B engage in relevant corporate social responsibility. Unilever is known to sponsor several youth programmes on university campuses during which it shares its products, specifically the different variants of Close-Up. Likewise, P&G regularly embarks on CSR missions, providing free dental checks to Nigerians.
Finally, both brands offer different tube sizes such as 140g, 140g x2, 140g x3, etc. All of these go for similar prices. In the same vein, the brands offer variants such as herbal, deep action, etc.
Differences between Close-Up and Oral-B
Aside from the fact that Close-Up is over thirty years older than Oral-B, other factors help to differentiate between them. These factors include taste, colour, and packaging. For instance, while Close-Up products are predominantly red (as the herbals), Oral-B is mostly turquoise blue. Same goes for their packaging.
Another difference between them is the fact that Close-Up has a 30g X2, sachet-packed product in the market. This helps Close-Up to reach consumers of different financial capacities. Oral-B currently does not have such an offering in the market.
From our interaction with some toothpaste users in Lagos, it is obvious that not only is Close-Up still popular in the country, it is also widely used. Most of the respondents noted that they have literarily used Close-Up all their lives.
“Close-Up is the only toothpaste brand I’ve used all my life. I like the smell, the taste, the colour and the effect it has in my mouth. I also like the fact that the prices have remained consistently affordable. Also, they now offer variants of herbal and whatnot. I like it.” said Tunde, a teacher resident in Lagos.
Others like Nneka Emmanuel said that they use Close-Up most of the time, but also alternate it with Oral-B, especially when they cannot easily access Close-Up.
Also, some others said that they switched completely from Close-Up to Oral-B because they think that the latter has more to offer.
“For many years, I used Close-Up. But after I came across Oral-B and tried it, I had to ditch Close-Up immediately. Today, my family and I use Oral-B. To be frank, Oral-B offers a greater advantage. That’s the only reason why it has done so well within the short time it’s been around” said Mrs Ajao, a banker.
Meanwhile, Mama Lateef, a neighbourhood convenient store owner in Iyana-Ipaja, Lagos said that although her customers buy both Close-Up and Oral-B, she typically runs out of the former first. Speaking further, she said that the reason for this is “…because Close-Up has been around for a long, long time and attracted a lot of fans. I myself use only Close-Up, especially the herbal type.”
As always, we conducted a Twitter poll as a way of gathering more data for our comparison. In the poll, we asked our followers to choose their best brand among Close-Up, Oral-B, Colgate and any other toothpaste brand(s). Out of the total number of respondents, 32% said that Close-Up is their favourite. This is closely followed by Oral-B, which 29% of respondents said is their favourite. Colgate came in third place with a 25% vote, while 14% of the votes went to the others.
This poll result is indicative of the close competition between Oral-B and Close-Up – one of the reasons we chose to compare the two. It also clearly shows that many Nigerians still like the pioneering toothpaste brand in Nigeria. Therefore, based on these findings, we declare Close-Up the winner of this week’s battle of the substitutes.
Switch by Sterling: The remittance game changer
Subscribers to Switch will enjoy unlimited and seamless access to transfer money from abroad like regular wire transfers.
Although Nigerians in diaspora have always been able to access banking services in Nigeria through digital platforms, the recent introduction of the Switch banking app by Sterling Bank is bound to be a game-changer in the mobile banking space.
This is because Switch, a multi-service banking app, leverages technology to address some inadequacies of cross-border transactions and online money transfer such as Dollar to Naira or other convertible currencies on the front burner.
Regardless of exchange rate volatility, subscribers to Switch will enjoy unlimited and seamless access to transfer money from abroad like regular wire transfers.
Coming on board when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) unveiled a new policy that ensures unhindered remittances for Nigerians in diaspora, Switch has berthed as a product of corporate foresight and a veritable source of foreign exchange earnings for Nigerians.
…Mobile Apps have Come to Stay
The advent of Switch into the mobile banking space in Nigeria has raised the bar of competition in a territory where MoneyGram, Western Union, PayPal, WorldRemit and RiaMoney have held sway over the years.
The app’s user-friendly features have endeared it to Nigerians in diaspora and relegated the competition in every aspect of money transfer from abroad. Essentially, the app is uniquely designed for diverse financial products such as insurance, treasury bills, fixed income securities, payment requests, investments and asset financing, among others.
The money transfer app, which has gained frontline status in its short period of existence, stands out from the competition and serves as a hub for sending money to Nigeria from the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. The easy to use app provides an opportunity for issue resolution using e-mail and social media accounts.
… Coming on Board of Switch
In order to register on Switch, a client is expected to provide aname and contact information while the registration ends with funding of the account. This enables the client to deploy the savings account to transfer money into other Switch users for free and transfers to non-Sterling bank account with fees of N25 or less.
The Switch app can be downloaded from either the Google Play Store or App Store. Subscribers can effortlessly register on the web by a click on the web too. Proving attractive to Nigerians of 18 years and above, its simplicity is fast boosting subscribers’ confidence. Clients will pay zero fee for transfers in the first six months.
…Switch Hedges Subscribers against Fraud
The world of mobile apps is like a game of whack-a-mole. As one fraud is being tackled, fraudsters rear their heads elsewhere with new tactics. Criminals have always exploited the mobile space with fake mobile apps.
However, the ongoing uptick in registration for Sterling Switch is not unconnected with the mobile app’s fraud-protection strategy that runs on advanced machines, specially designed to thwart fraud at both the install and in-app levels. This effectively hedges subscribers of Switch against cyber attacks.
…Switch by Sterling, a win-win
Switch is indeed a game-changer. The much sought-after solution provides better value to customers, builds a stronger brand, unlocks power of better connection for customers and makes account opening easy.
Prospective customers need not download many apps in order to invest in different asset classes. Switch provides opportunities for subscribers to build wealth through investment in various asset classes. It boosts profitability for the custodian.
Subscribers can transfer above N50,000 to other Nigerian banks. In order to enhance its services along the value chain, the solution operates on extended partnership network with PIP iT in the UK, i-invest and Doubble.Ng, among other institutions.
As a top brand, Switch by Sterling identifies its target demography, encourages user engagement, ensures compliance with platform design guidelines, uses frictionless navigating features and is highly responsive.
Switch stands out as the cheapest means for Nigerians in diaspora to transfer money online without risks associated with cross-border transactions. The financial mobile app is fast becoming the benchmark for other mobile apps in the Nigerian banking space.
COVID -19 saving Nigerians millions in wedding and burial costs
As long as the pandemic persists, the ‘new normal’ is for ceremonies to remain subdued.
It was a sunny Saturday in May and like it had been for the better part of 8 weeks, the new normal was in force in Nosa’s household. The lockdown induced COVID-19 meant that all the hustle and bustle of giving attention to side hustles on weekends had all evaporated. Now he spent more time with his kids watching TV and playing video games. Whilst he has had to endure multiple weekends of lost revenue, staying indoors meant that his personal finance was still intact. But things would change dramatically this weekend.
Nosa got a call that he had just lost his aged mother to a brief illness. He had been battling with a terminal illness for years, but things seemed to be under control so her death came as a surprise. Even as he grappled with the thought of losing his mother, Nosa knew that he had to start making preparations for the expenses that are bound to come with burials in an African setting.
Thanks to the pandemic, and rules that came with it, Nosa ended up spending much less than he would have for his mother’s burial with most of the funds going towards mortuary expenses, transport and the direct cost of the actual burial itself.
READ ALSO: Post COVID-19: The Challenges Ahead
“This COVID-19 is bad but it has saved me millions of naira that I would have spent in this burial,” he remarked.
“I wanted to give my mom a befitting burial but these are hard times and I may have borrowed money just to fund this. But with COVID-19 and social distancing in place I did not have to do any of this,” Nosa informs our reporter.
Nosa’s gains translate to massive losses for a whole chain of service providers in the event management industry. Similar occurrences over the last few months have resulted in the loss of revenue for such businesses.
Events in Nigeria often cost anywhere between half a million naira to over N100 million depending on the financial muscle of those spending. Burials, weddings, naming ceremonies and birthday parties, make a burgeoning industry that spans several sectors of the economy.
From mortuaries to casket makers, event planners, event Halls rentals, professional mourners, caterers, confectionaries, party rentals, photographers, video editors, tailors, newspapers , etc, its an entire value chain of businesses that provide one service or the other for this industry.
Each of these events cost millions of naira to organize hosting as many people as the budget can support. According to a CNN article quoting a report from TNS Global, Nigerians spend as much as $9,460 for a wedding ceremony. The report also indicates the party industry could be worth as high as $17 million based on statistics in 2017.
The math can be easily deducted. Assuming 50,000 ceremonies every weekend at an average cost of N1 million that is a N50 billion per weekend or N2.7 trillion ($6.75 billion) per annum. GDP data from the National Bureau of Statistics indicates sectors that support the ceremonies market in Nigeria, telecoms, transportation, Arts and Entertainment is worth a combined N18.4 trillion.
Chuks, a Partner at a top consulting firm in Nigeria admits were it not for the pandemic his wedding could have cost him about N15 million personally and another N20 million spent by family, friends, colleagues and well-wishers. He is in his forties and his wedding had been much anticipated. He went ahead with his wedding last weekend with less than a dozen people in attendance and over 140 others logging on via Zoom. He claims while he ended up not spending millions on food, drinks, wedding halls and other logistic costs, he still achieved his goal of getting married.
Necessity they say is the mother of invention and has millions stay locked in their homes, they have resorted to apps such as Zoom, Instagram Live, Microsoft Teams to hold virtual events. These days Zoom themed parties now have their own rules and conventions. Friends from all parts of the world log in with each person taking turns to say nice things about the celebrants. Games are conducted to spice up the event and stories told by the celebrant. Music is also played by the Zoom host with participants dancing and having fun.
“It is like watching a live movie and also being part of it as the audience and participant” a wedding planner informed Nairametrics. Whilst one cannot underrate the connection physical socializing brings, virtual meetings are gradually becoming a lifestyle and the longer social distancing continues its cultural significance will only continue to increase.
Aderonke Adebamibola, CEO of Unik Ushering Agency, an Event management firm, confirmed to Nairametrics that business has really slowed down in the last few months. “Even though the NCDC has now given rules to guide weddings and other events, the budget now is way less than it used to be due to the cap on numbers of guests” she explained.
Now, most events are kept within the premises of family residences, depriving hall rentals, the money they could have made from leasing out their halls. Venue decorators also have much less on their hands to do, as they no longer have to decorate big halls.
According to Adebamibola, every single business in the chain has been affected, from caterers to ushers.
“Now, we even have to convince them to use one or two ushers for their events because they believe they don’t need ushers for 20 or 30 guests. Caterers cannot even cook a half bag of rice now because of the number of guests. This means that they are also paid less for their services, even if they expend the same energy and time” she said.
The new normal in this industry means that the things that used to be prioritized are no longer priorities. Hand sanitisers, face masks and hand washing equipment are now compulsories in events, while the hand-shaking, and hugs that would have characterized such weddings.
Due to the nature of the industry, a large percentage of the staff are kept on contract basis, so the reduction has not really translated into lay-offs. However, the industry revenue has been badly hit. A contract staff with NPU Events, who preferred anonymity, noted that in the last three months, she has only been called twice for events.
Since this forms a major part of her income, it has caused a major dip in her resources. COVID-19 has brought unwanted hardship to the Nigerian economy with small businesses and workers in the informal sector suffering the most.
A recent World Bank report indicates the Nigerian economy might contract by as much as 3% in GDP growth rate this year. This informed government’s latest decision to inject about N2.3 trillion into the economy to spur economic growth. The funds will be targeted at small businesses through non-collateralized low-interest loans. Whilst all these initiatives are geared towards stimulating the economy, the spending power of Nigerians will remain pivotal and as long as the pandemic persists, ceremonies will remain subdued.
BHH Podcast: What 2020 holds for SMEs (2) – Ugodre
Business Half Hour (BHH) is a weekly podcast targeted at Startups and Entrepreneurs, who are redefining the Nigerian business scene through innovation.
Business Half Hour (BHH) is a weekly podcast targeted at Startups and Entrepreneurs, who are redefining the Nigerian business scene through innovation.
In this episode of #BHH, Ugodre gave an insight into how business climate would be for SMEs and an overall outlook on the global and national economy. Enjoy!