Clorox bets big on bucket-less future

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After more than a year of focusing on core categories, Clorox Co. is preparing to spend $37 million on marketing early next year to launch Clorox Ready Mop, an all-in-one wet mop that does away with the need for buckets or bending over.

Ready Mop, which starts shipping to retailers in late December, will be backed by TV and print advertising from Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, San Francisco, plus $5 newspaper coupons, all starting in late winter or early spring.

Ready Mop goes up against Procter & Gamble Co.'s Swiffer WetJet, a battery-powered model launched last month that similarly does away with the need for buckets. Like WetJet, Ready Mop comes with replacement packages of floor cleaner and spongelike paper pads, which retail for $4 to $5.


Following the classic razor-and-blade model, both companies aim to make more on refills than handles. But since Ready Mop uses a finger operated manual pump rather than a motor and batteries, it will sell for less than WetJet. One retail buyer said Ready Mop will retail for as low as $19.95, compared to just under $50 for starter kits of WetJet.

A Clorox spokeswoman, however, said the price would be closer to that of WetJet. P&G already has cut prices below the roughly $70 at which it sold WetJet in Canada, Belgium and through consumer direct sales earlier this year. Bcom3 Group's D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York, handles WetJet.

Clorox faced disappointments following P&G into such categories as dry cleaning kits and fabric deodorizers, neither of which reached anticipated sales goals or saw sales declines in year two. As a result, Clorox last year shifted focus to such core categories as bleach and household cleaners.

But the Clorox spokeswoman said Ready Mop isn't really a departure from the focus on core brands, as it plays off the Clorox brand name and the company's leadership in household cleaners.

"We said there would be some dial back of innovation, but we didn't say it was going away," she said. "And we really did focus on the base brands in the second half of last year and this year. You will see more innovation coming along, and it's good for us, for the category and for growth."

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