$100 mil will back Total gel extension

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Colgate-Palmolive Co. plans a $100 million marketing push for the first line extension to its wildly successful Total toothpaste.

In March, the marketer will debut Total Fresh Stripe, a gel version of the antibacterial toothpaste, backing the introduction with the same level of mega-marketing dollars as the December 1997 launch of Total.

A spokeswoman confirmed the $100 million budget for Total Fresh Stripe but wouldn't comment on the details of the marketing plan until after Colgate's sales meeting at the end of the month.

ADS BREAK IN APRIL

A campaign from Y&R Advertising, New York, will break in April, with TV and magazine advertising in the general market as well as Hispanic and African-American media, according to the company. Colgate also plans an extensive ad and sampling campaign aimed at dental professionals.

In stressing multicultural marketing in the Total Fresh Stripe introduction, Colgate is wisely linking to its strength in international markets, particularly Latin American countries, said Burt Flickinger, a consultant with Reach Marketing. Colgate is synonymous with toothpaste in many of those areas.

Regular Total has revitalized Colgate's U.S. sales and helped it capture leadership in its home market from Procter & Gamble Co.

That introduction was one of the fastest starts in package-goods history, with the brand edging out P&G's Crest in the $1.6 billion toothpaste segment for the first time in three decades.

9.5% MARKET SHARE

According to ACNielsen Corp., Total captured 9.5% of category sales by the third quarter of 1998, helping boost Colgate's overall dollar share to 30.2% vs. P&G's 26.1%.

Colgate hopes the extension will attract new customers, particularly women who typically are frequent users of gels. Nielsen data show gels and striped toothpastes make up about half of category sales.

Copyright January 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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