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When procter & gamble Co. converted Luvs from a superpremium to a value brand in 1991, consumers and retailers didn't greet the move warmly.

Luvs' market share dropped from more than 15% to 10.6% by 1995. Some consumers rejected the brand's quality as a notch below leading brands. Some retailers, perceiving a threat to their private labels, dropped the brand.

But by 1996, Luvs had become P&G's fastest-growing established brand in North America. In the 52 weeks ended April 27, Luvs sales were up 12.3% and its share of the diaper and training pants category was up to 12.5%, according to Information Resources Inc. P&G research shows Luvs consumers are the category's most loyal.

Contributing to Luvs' turnaround were product improvements such as stretchy side panels and moves to make the brand more profitable for retailers, such as switching to unisex diapers, says Jeff Ansell, 37, P&G VP-general manager, U.S. diaper business, who oversaw these changes.

Also breaking in June 1996 was the "Live & Learn & Then Get Luvs" campaign from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, which departs from traditional diaper ads.

Four TV spots feature hectic family scenes, ending with the message that once families get wise to real life, they understand Luvs are as good as premium brands.

In another departure for P&G, the campaign's print component features four Luvs and P&G diaper employees in their roles as parents, including Luvs Brand Manager Howard Lossing.

"The Luvs brand and agency team truly energized the diaper consumers with an insightful, new advertising campaign that includes a highly realistic portrayal of today's mom and family life," Mr. Ansell says.

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