Mr. Johansen, 32, father of a newborn and a 3-year-old, is senior brand manager for S.C. Johnson & Son's Toilet Duck bowl cleaner, a brand that's taken off since its May 1992 launch and now owns almost a fifth of the $125 million category.
In October, the company rolled out a line extension-an automatic product left in a toilet tank-that has since taken a 10% share of that $250 million category, in just six months.
"As marketers we sometimes forget who we're in this for," says Mr. Johansen. "We fall short when we don't spend time connecting with the consumer," his mother among them.
What the consumer wants is to have a little fun, even while conducting onerous household chores, he says. That's where Toilet Duck's quirky quacker comes in, inspired by the shape of the under-the-rim squeeze bottle. The brand's mascot-a warrior duck that tackles dirt-has broken the mold of toilet-cleaner advertising.
"Normally, we keep [toilet product advertising in the U.S.] pretty serious and focused on cleaning," he says. But agency DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago, brought an ability to "laugh and smile and not be afraid of facing a tough and unpopular chore."
Mr. Johansen's task now is to develop the duck character as well as the duck brand. Johnson is expanding marketing efforts to include rubber-duck races for fund raising.
For the brand, Mr. Johansen sends coupons to the 25 million householders who move each year. "It gets people when they're in a cleaning frame of mind," he says.