Clorox 2 Stain Fighter & Color Booster launched
product that completely removes the odor from
performance fabrics,” said LeAnne Williams,
director of marketing for Dry, Inc., which
plans to begin advertising ProWash in 2009
in print and online. “When we discovered
that the average American household needs
to clean up to 9 activewear garments a
week, we knew there was a business opportunity.”
Portland, OR-based Dry, Inc. sees another
opportunity to increase sales in 2009. With
the economy in the doldrums, consumers
are less likely to drop off garments at the
local dry cleaner, and may turn to “
at-home” dry cleaner products. On average it
costs $5 to clean a garment at the dry cleaner and less than $0.50 to clean the same garment with Dry Cleaner’s Secret, according to
“We’ve always had a base of customers that
used our product to save money and conveniently dry
clean at home, but now with the current economy we’re
expecting a record year,” she said. According to IRI, sales
of Dry Cleaner’s Secret for the 52 weeks ended Nov. 2 fell
22.6% to $5.1 million.
What may also help the product garner more attention is
its new alliance with one of the most recognized names in
fabric care. Since June, the product has been marketed as
Woolite Dry Cleaner’s Secret.
“The Woolite brand has always been synonymous with
refreshing and protecting your clothing. We found the
American consumer had a very high awareness of the
Woolite brand and the co-branded package would bring
more users into the market,” said Ms. Williams.
According to Dry, Inc., Woolite Dry Cleaner’s secret is easier to use than some of its competitors, including Dryel, a
P&G brand that saw sales dip 1% to $13.7 million.
While a P&G official told HAPPI Dryel isn’t a main focus for
the company, dry cleaning does interest the Cincinnati consumer products giant. Since the summer, P&G has been testing Tide Dry Cleaners, a trio of freestanding professional dry
cleaning stores in Kansas City. P&G is using technology created by Kansas City-based GreenEarth Cleaning, which
touts an environmentally safe dry cleaning process that
replaces petroleum-based solvents with liquid silicone that
breaks down into SiO and trace amounts of water and car-
bon dioxide. In addition to being green, there’s also a heavy
focus on service at Tide Dry Cleaners, with drive-through
service and 24-hour lockers in which select customers can
pick up their garments after normal business hours.
Living in a Regulatory World
As marketers grapple with a slowing economy and a growing
interest in sustainability, they must also come to grips with
the growing threat of regulatory activity in the U.S. and
around the world.
Just last month, Dec. 1 to be precise, the pre-registration
period closed on REACH, the far-reaching
Registration, Evaluation and
Authorization of Chemicals, but Ernie
Rosenberg, president of the Soap and
Detergent Association, warned that
while the deadline has come and
gone, many issues still remain unresolved.
“A lot of downstream users aren’t
getting answers from Europe,” he
warned. “The end of pre-registration
didn’t solve much.”
For example, questions still remain
on a wide variety of issues including
information sharing, data compensation and even animal testing.
Meanwhile, in North America, the
U.S. and Canada continue to generate a
lot of assessments within the guidelines
of the Security and Prosperity Partnership
under the Montebello Agreement, according to Mr.
Rosenberg, who warned that if the new Administration
moves in and unravels the work already completed, “it will
set back assessment for a decade,” he insisted.
But Mr. Rosenberg also noted that Congress already has
a full plate of legislation to consider, including the Kid-Safe
Chemicals Act (KSCA), which if passed, would bring dramatic change to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
At the state level, while California may have designs on
legislation regarding ingredient disclosure, Mr. Rosenberg
noted that tough economic times often put a damper on legislators’ enthusiasm to raise taxes. Moreover, the industry
has already announced a voluntary ingredient disclosure
program that will go into effect in 2010.
What’s To Come?
While P&G continues to stretch Tide’s reach across the entire
fabric care marketplace, the competition isn’t sitting idle.
Construction continues in Jackson Township, PA, as Church
& Dwight builds its new $150 million Arm & Hammer detergent manufacturing facility and distribution center. The site
is scheduled to be finished by the end of the year.
And while Sun Products has yet to reveal any specific
plans, the company is preparing to challenge the marketplace in 2009. “Laundry care is an $8 billion category which
is a consumer staple. We have a 20% share, and we have a
portfolio of brands relative in their own space. From All to
Wisk to private label to Sun, it is a very nice portfolio that
plays in each and every segment of the category,” said Mr.
Littlefield. “We will be making every effort to leverage scale
in the category for the benefit of consumers.”
Meanwhile, Henkel has something in the pipeline. While
Mr. Schwartz kept details close to his vest, it appears Henkel
plans to up the ante with this new offering, scheduled for the
spring. “We will continue to provide innovation that wows
consumers in a way that still has strong value to it. We are
planning to step that up.”