COLGATE EXPANDS LINEUP OF MEXICAN BRANDS

Company Hopes to Tap Into Loyalties of U.S. Hispanics

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CINCINNATI (AdAge.com) -- Colgate-Palmolive Co. is expanding its lineup of Mexican brands aimed at the U.S. Hispanic market with the U.S. launch of Vel Rosita fine fabric laundry detergent and a line extension of Suavitel fabric softener into an ironing aid.

Vel Rosita and Suavitel began shipping to U.S. retailers earlier this month, the company said, with advertising and promotion campaigns to begin early in 2003. Siboney USA, New York, handles the brands and other Colgate U.S. Hispanic advertising. The brands will be supported with promotional campaigns that include in-store demos and sampling, with Suavitel Perfect Press also getting TV and print support to break in March in Hispanic media.

Sagging detergent sales
Vel Rosita could help bolster

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Reports Flat Sales for First Quarter
a Colgate detergent business that has been dropping rapidly in the U.S. Colgate is the No. 5 U.S. detergent manufacturer with a 3.7% share of the $3.7 billion category as measured by Information Resources Inc. for the 52 weeks ended Sept. 8. Sales of brands that include Fab and Ajax were off 9.2%. By contrast, Vel Rosita is the leading Mexican fine fabric detergent brand with an 80.5% share, Colgate said. Vel Rosita can be used as a hand wash or in washing machines, with a 16-ounce bottle retailing for about $3.49, Colgate said.

Mexican descent
Colgate said 60% of U.S. Hispanics are of Mexican descent and most are very loyal to Mexican brands. The company transplanted its Suavitel fabric softener and Fabuloso cleaner brands from Mexico to the U.S. in 1997, and Colgate said Suavitel is now the fastest-growing fabric softener brand in the U.S.

Suavitel had sales of $29 million in the 52 weeks ended Sept. 8, according to IRI figures, which don't include Wal-Mart Stores or bodegas and neighborhood stores that comprise much of the brand's sales. Suavitel is believed by executives close to the company to be the No. 2 brand of fabric softeners among U.S. Hispanics, behind Procter & Gamble Co.'s Downy.

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