CLOROX TRIES 409 UMBRELLA: $10 MIL EFFORT TAPS INTO TUNE BY BEACH BOYS

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Clorox Co. this week uses the music of the Beach Boys' classic "409" to kick off the first umbrella branding effort for its all-purpose cleaner Formula 409.

The goal is to "enjoy the synergies of communicating as a larger brand," said Michelle Waldgeir, brand manager.

The estimated $10 million campaign will be followed with an $8 million effort for Formula 409 carpet cleaner.

Clorox is looking to this new campaign as a way to show time-short moms and working women that the product will help them get their houses as clean as they want them to be.

UNCOMPROMISING WOMEN

"Women are busier than ever before, but they have not lowered their standards for clean," said Kathy Kusek, management supervisor and director of new-business at agency DDB Needham Worldwide, San Francisco.

In the TV spots, a bottle of Formula 409 sprays out what appears to be a squadron of jets shaped like the purple 409 logo. The squadron of flying numbers zooms around the bathtub, cleans the floor soiled by a dog's paws and wipes up spills on the kitchen stove. The spots are tagged, "Giddyup 409."

Radio also is being used.

The campaign comes as Clorox faces increasing competition in both the all-purpose and carpet cleaning categories from S.C. Johnson & Son and Procter & Gamble Co. S.C. Johnson launched Windex Antibacterial Window & Counter cleaner in September, backed by an estimated $10 million in TV and print ads from Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago.

COMBATING PINE SOL

That product aims to counter Clorox's own Pine Sol Antibacterial spray cleaner, which has garnered $12 million in sales since bowing in February, according to Information Resources Inc.

Even before the antibacterial launch, Windex was on its way to racking up gains in the $492 million counter and window cleaner category the brand leads, according to IRI. For the 52 weeks ended Aug. 23, Windex sales were up 14.9% to $164.6 million. Formula 409 sales in the category were virtually flat, up 0.2% to $88.3 million.

The Windex product marks a stronger move into all-purpose cleaners for the S.C. Johnson brand, which already dominates glass cleaners. Other competitors in the category include S.C. Johnson's Fantastik, with sales up 5.8% to 34.8 million, and Reckitt & Colman's Lysol Kitchen & Bath cleaner, down 6.3% to $33 million.

P&G is expected to break an $8 million to $10 million TV and print drive backing a new Springtime Fresh scent version of its Mr. Clean all-purpose cleaner in November, via Euro RSCG Tatham, Chicago.

P&G WANTS TO REGAIN GROUND

P&G is looking to recover lost ground by returning to the original bottle size and formulation of Mr. Clean. The brand has steadily lost share since a concentrated version rolled out in 1995 and now ranks No. 5 among hard-surface cleaners.

In carpet cleaning, Formula 409 has built sales to $27.3 million for the 52 weeks ended Sept. 13, according to IRI, midway through the product's second year in distribution. It has gained ground on Reckitt & Colman's category-leading Resolve.

Resolve sales were off 6.5%, to $73.5 million, during that period.

New competition is forming in the guise of P&G's new Febreze fabric and carpet deodorizer, which has grown to $38.9 million in sales since its launch in June.

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