• Detergent Market
and Purex Complete contribute to growth
as many consumers are still willing to pay a
higher price for innovation,” noted Mills.
The Kline executive noted that while
some may say that the category lacks innovation, there have been several launches
that have helped to sustain a large part of
the category’s growth during the past several years. Mills pointed out that innovation
in this category is costly and the majority of
these introductions have come from the
major marketers with large R&D budgets.
For example, P&G spent a tremendous
amount of money to develop Tide Total
Care, which surpassed sales of more than
$100 million in its first full year.
“Henkel’s Purex Complete registered
more than $50 million in less than a year,”
she said.“Going back just a few years, Tide
Coldwater and All Small & Mighty were
highly successful launches that drove sim-
ilar intros from competitors.”
Still, innovation does not necessarily re-
sult in growth.
“Despite the highly successful launch of
the premium-priced Tide Total Care, the
brand’s overall sales declined,” said Mills.
“The majority of growth in the category
over the past couple of years has come from
mid- to lower-tier brands, she explained.
While the recession has played a role in
their growth, many consumers are also satisfied with product efficacy. Premium
brands will be challenged to recapture former users and convince new buyers that
there’s value in the higher-priced offering.”
In an effort to boost its share of the U.S.
laundry category, Sun Products relaunched
Wisk, which now features something called
Stain Spectrum Technology. The formula
promises to get out a wide range of stains
including proteins, carbohydrates, oils and
particulates, bio and synthetic. In addition
to returning to its stain-fighting focus with
a new formula, Wisk’s new red bottle is a
return to its“ring-around-the-collar” roots
from when the product was first launched
“Wisk had lost its brand voice over the
years,” said John Nunziato, creative director, Little Big Brands, the agency behind the
redesign. “The brand is now a standout in
the category—screaming premium and
performance while remaining relevant and
approachable to the consumer.”
According to Nunziato, the design was
distilled down and each element was ad-
dressed for relevancy, current equity and
impact. The result is a brand with renewed
depth, dimension and energy. The bottle
and label are rich reds and the label uses
several reds to integrate seamlessly into the
structure. The logo was redrawn and maxi-
mized in perspective form. The new white
logo jumps off shelf, he said.
The addition of reflective foil adds to the
premium appearance and strengthens
cleaning cues. Smart, modern typography
rounds out the label. Lastly, the design was
stripped of unnecessary copy, drop shadows,
inlines, and fluorescent colors, which made
the previous design feel heavy and dated,
according to Nunziato.
Bottle designs are nice, but it’s what’s inside
that counts most once the consumer makes
a purchasing decision. This month, Henkel
will try to build on the momentum it generated with Purex Complete 3-in-1 with
the launch of Purex Complete Crystals Softener, which is billed as 92% natural.
According to Henkel, the product’s
unique crystal form works differently than
traditional oil-based softeners that coat
fabrics with oily residue. Purex Complete
Crystals Softener is said to be easier to use
than traditional softeners because it is
added directly to the laundry load at the
beginning of every wash cycle. Moreover,
the softener promises to preserve flame retardant benefits of baby’s and children’s
clothes, retain the wicking ability of athletic
wear, maintain a towel’s built-in ability to
absorb water and will keep white clothes
from yellowing and graying. The launch is
another sign that Henkel is ready to take
on Tier 1 brands in the U.S.
“The turnaround will be based on inno-
vation and marketers who are recommitted
to the high road of innovation and differen-
tiation,” explained Schwartz.“We are com-
mitted to the high road. It’s the primary way
that we want to compete to build share.”
Schwartz called Purex 3-in-1 sheets
“disruptive”technology, and he is confident
that the same is true of the new softener.
“In the U.S., it is inconvenient to use
fabric softener,” he explained.
Despite the prevalence of new washing
machines that feature built-in fabric softener dispensers, most people still play a
“Moms are tethered to the machine
waiting for the rinse cycle. That’s how liquids work,” he insisted.
Purex Complete Crystals Softener is
available in three fragrances—Fresh Spring
Waters, Lavender Blossom and Tropical
Splash—and retails for $3. 99-5. 99.
To get the word out about the benefits
of the new fabric softener, Henkel will redeploy the on-shelf LCD communication
system in select retail locations. At the least,
the novel, on-shelf education tool will have
as high a return-on-investment as traditional television spend, and is much more
effective than in-store demonstrations, according to Schwartz.
Innovation is the lifeblood of so many
industries, but lately, the laundry detergent
market has seemed to hit a dry spell.
Although consumer sentiment for green
fell as the economy worsened, nearly
everyone agrees that environmentally
friendly initiatives are here to stay. Last fall,