Arm & Hammer's New Cleaners Not Only Greener, They're Cheaper

But Can Shoppers Be Convinced to Try Refillable Dispensers?

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BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- While many green cleaners have hit the market in recent years, Church & Dwight Co. is putting a decidedly different twist on the concept, with a kind of mix-it-yourself line. It's introducing Arm & Hammer Essentials, cleaning products boiled down to their active ingredients and stripped of water. The marketer promises a 25% lower cost and 80% reduction in packaging than conventional cleaners.
Arm & Hammer Essentials: greener and cheaper.
Arm & Hammer Essentials: greener and cheaper.

Key to the proposition is selling consumers an empty trigger-spray bottle and a cartridge filled with plant-based and other biodegradable cleaners. Consumers fill the bottle with water at home and empty a small bottle of the cleaning ingredient into it.

Refills reduce waste
Each bottle in the line -- which includes a multisurface cleaner, a cleaner and degreaser, and a glass spray -- comes with two refill packs that combined use 85% less plastic and 80% less packaging than conventional household cleaners.

TV ads for the new Arm & Hammer Essentials line of green cleaners are breaking this week from Ferrara & Co., Princeton, N.J., buttressing an extensive viral and publicity campaign from Edelman, N.Y.

Maxus, New York, handles media.

While such players as Seventh Generation, Clorox GreenWorks and Method have seen substantial growth in recent years by selling cleaners billed as environmentally friendly, all have been at a premium of some kind to conventional household cleaners based on synthetic chemicals.

The magic ingredient: Lower price
By promising consumers a value proposition at least over the long haul compared to conventional cleaners, Joe Kossow, Church & Dwight's marketing director for Essentials, is hoping the company has a winning approach in the current economy.

Mr. Kossow said, "We're asking consumers to think about how they can step up and positively impact the environment" -- but without sacrificing anything. He acknowledged the concept is tough enough to understand that it could take some time.

"We recognize that we're asking consumers to change behavior, and from a marketing standpoint, that's a tall order," Mr. Kossow said. "We're not just asking them to replace one product with another. Its one of the more innovative packaging solutions I think I'm going to see in my career."

Wal-Mart backs launch
One key to the product's success is the support of Wal-Mart Stores, which is backing the rollout in a big way as it dovetails not only with the retailer's sustainability crusade, but also with its save-money platform.

Wal-Mart is backing the introduction with substantial in-store merchandising support, placement on its sustainability sites, a microsite of its own on Walmart.com and search advertising leading to the site.

"Many common household cleaners have a dirty little secret," reads copy on the Walmart.com microsite. "Their packaging is a major source of pollution for local landfills. With Arm & Hammer Essentials Cleaners, it's finally affordable to clean green and clean well."
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