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Growing numbers of household product marketers are offering free maid services as prizes in sweepstakes.

Brand managers are responding to time-stressed consumers who say they want practical luxuries, but it's also another example of marketers aiming for more integrated promotions to sell products through logical tie-ins.

By offering prizes that are closely related to the product being marketed, such efforts help drive more unit sales and maximize brand efforts and efficiency, say marketing experts.

Only 9.4% of U.S. homes have maid service. But maid and other home service businesses are growing 20% annually, said Kristi Aker, senior director of field services and promotions for Molly Maids, a national franchiser.


Lever Bros.' Sunlight dishwasher detergent joined with Molly Maids in April for a sweepstakes to give away housecleaning for a year to 25 homes.

"Our belief was a year's free housecleaning was something that could change your life," said Tom McLoughlin, brand manager for Sunlight.

The promotion became the primary marketing vehicle for restaging Sunlight. Brand sales are rising faster than the category since the promotion, Mr. McLoughlin said.

Molly Maids' first joint promotion, a Mother's Day 1996 sweepstakes offer with Kraft Foods' Post cereals and Maxwell House coffee, generated 500,000 entries for 30 giveaways, Ms. Aker said. A second Kraft Mother's Day promotion this year added prizes from such marketers as Florists' Transworld Delivery Association and the Great Clips haircut chain.

Dial Corp. offered a maid service giveaway to 25 homes in conjunction with Molly Maids rival Merry Maids in spring for Purex detergent. Tenneco's Hefty bags teamed with Merry Maids in June for a joint couponing promotion.

"Our slogan on Hefty is `You can do it the hard way or the Hefty way,' " said John Czap, senior product manager. "We make your life easier, and so does having a maid service."

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