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When Herbal Medicine, Goes Global?

Tolak Angin is a brand of Indonesian herbal medicine (or here in Indonesia we call it as “jamu”), and was established in 1930 by PT SidoMuncul. It is by far one of the most recognizable herb brand in Indonesia. Tolak Angin has been exported to several other countries as well, such as Japan, Hong Kong, ASEAN Countries, even to Middle East, Europe, and the United States. How could a single traditional herbal medicine brand manage to go international?


Looking at Tolak Angin’s TV commercial, it is clear that they focused on the lower economic market. Starting from their tone and manner, to their packaging and slogan “Orang pintar minum Tolak Angin” (The smarts choose Tolak Angin), they were all meant to be directed to the lower economic market. One of the first things I learned about advertising and marketing is that a product can’t be made to please everyone – that’s why each product has a specific target market. However, Tolak Angin manage to reach out to everyone from every economic status and every demographic. How so?
Apparently, the secret lies beneath the ingredients for Tolak Angin itself. Catching a cold (or in Indonesia we call this ‘masuk angin’) is a common health problem for everyone. The ingredients in Tolak Angin is milder – therefore safer to consume more often – than the drugs in cold medicines. It cures cold-related symptoms such as headache, stomachache or gastritis. Tolak Angin can also be boost your immunity when you’re tired or sleep deprived. That’s why some people even brought Tolak Angin when they’re travelling, and it is common to stock Tolak Angin in your office or workplace. Tolak Angin has become everyone’s trusted herbal medicine brand to cure and prevent cold-related illness.
Tolak Angin has gained the loyalty of its customers by its sheer power to cure a common cold. Starting as a humble brand of jamu, it has now become one of Indonesia’s brand to be exported to other continents. Branding 101 in advertising classes; branding has the same principle with love. Once you gained the loyalty of your customers, it can take you to another level; or in Tolak Angin’s case, around the world.

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