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Green Works From Clorox: A Marketing 50 Case Study

By Published on .

Photo: Tony Pettinato
Jessica Buttimer was mom to a newborn in ultragreen Marin County, Calif., four years ago when she heard from fellow mothers wishing Clorox Co. would make greener cleaners.

Three years later, as she was about to have her second daughter, Ms. Buttimer also welcomed into the world a brand aimed at accomplishing that, as marketing director for Clorox Green Works.

Plant-based ingredients and a restrained premium of 15% to 25% above conventional cleaners helped seal the deal for consumers, says Ms. Buttimer, 39, adding, "Without that Clorox endorsement, which really stands for trust and efficacy in consumers' minds, we would not have broken through the clutter."

Within six months, Green Works had sales of $13.6 million, according to Information Resources Inc., not counting Wal-Mart or Costco, where it got big support. The line has helped Clorox pick up a point or more of share in cleaners.

Green Works is also taking Clorox into new categories such as dish detergent and, possibly, laundry detergent (Ms. Buttimer isn't commenting on that one yet).

Backing a launch she describes as unremittingly optimistic has been an unconventional effort by DDB Worldwide, San Francisco. TV and print have been supplemented by cause marketing through the Sierra Club, whose seal adorns the packages, and a "reverse graffiti" public-art project in San Francisco, recounted on YouTube.
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