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Clorox Co. and Benckiser Consumer Products are poised to roll out new no-scrub shower cleaners for daily use, targeting a burgeoning segment created by upstart Automation Inc.'s Clean Shower brand.

With the launches, ad spending in the nascent segment could rise to as much as $40 million.

Clorox begins shipping Tilex Fresh Shower later this month, backed by an estimated $15 million to $20 million in TV, print and radio advertising that breaks in April from DDB Needham Worldwide, San Francisco.


Benckiser couldn't be reached at press time regarding its plans; the name of its new line could not be learned. But materials presented to retailers by Clorox said the rival is readying an entry into the increasingly crowded "everyday shower cleaner" subsegment later this year.

It's expected Benckiser will match Clorox spending.

Clorox's materials said it also will back its rollout with in-store couponing through Catalina Marketing Corp.'s Checkout Coupon system and ActMedia, as well as four newspaper free-standing inserts this year. A $1-off coupon will be distributed to 45 million households April 19.


The introductions indicate just how much of a competitor Clean Shower has become. In its first year of nationwide distribution, the brand hit the No. 6 position in the $334 million bathroom cleaner category, rising to No. 1 at Target Stores and No. 2 at Kroger Stores, according to Clorox.

A Clorox simulated test market indicated its Tilex Fresh Shower could expand the everyday cleaner segment to nearly 20% of the category, or more than $60 million.

Tilex was No. 2 in the overall shower-cleaner category last year, with $65 million in sales, up 8.3% for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 28 according to Information Resources Inc. The leader is Dow Bathroom Cleaner, recently acquired by S.C. Johnson & Son, with sales of $69.8 million.

IRI did not have figures for Clean Shower, but the marketer reports sales of more than $12 million for the past 12 months.


Meanwhile, Automation is testing four TV spots in several markets as it prepares to expand its current $3 million radio campaign to TV and print later this year, said Paul Porter, president-CEO.

The spots were created by Automation's in-house agency, East Pointe Advertising, which Mr. Porter heads.

Mr. Porter said he welcomes the entry of Clorox, which he said "will educate consumers on the benefits of both Tilex and Clean Shower."

One executive at a Southwest grocery chain said the new Tilex product along with Clean Shower hold great potential for expanding the category, since they're designed for daily use.

Even before the Tilex Fresh Shower extension, Clorox was pumping more marketing support behind the brand. It doubled ad spending on Tilex last year, with $5.3 million supporting the launch of Tilex Professional Strength; overall brand spending was $10.6 million through September, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

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