P&G introduces trio of products in DMB&B boon

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Procter & Gamble Co. is looking to rebound from recent sales and earnings stumbles with the first extension of its high-flying Swiffer electrostatic duster, along with the test of a new feminine protection brand and a national rollout of its Impress plastic wrap. As a result, D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York, which handles all three, could be in for a windfall.

Swiffer Max, a bigger and higher-price extension of P&G's Swiffer sweeper, features a mop head and cloths twice as big as regular Swiffer products, allowing them to pick up more dust and bigger dirt particles. The product hits retail shelves June 5, with TV and print ads breaking in July. P&G will add a Swiffer Max tag to existing Swiffer TV ads and use product-specific magazine ads and newspaper coupons.

Spending figures weren't disclosed, but P&G spent about $50 million advertising the brand in the first six months of its launch, which began in August, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Swiffer sales are on pace to exceed $300 million in the U.S. and $400 million globally in their first year, according to P&G. The new mops will retail for $18 to $20, compared to $14.99 for regular Swiffer. Swiffer Max replacement cloths will retail for $8 to $10 for a 16-count box, as much as twice the price of regular Swiffer cloths.

One supermarket buyer, citing the high price, said he had decided against carrying the product, though he acknowledged that he may have to bow to consumer demand if P&G advertising succeeds.


Meanwhile, P&G last month began testing Envive miniforms, an external feminine protection brand that's neither a sanitary pad nor a tampon, but has some benefits of each, and is positioned for everyday use. "Some women don't like an internal product, and other women find pads uncomfortable," a P&G spokeswoman said.

Envive is testing in Eau Claire, Wis., backed by TV, radio and magazine ads and a branded Web site (enviveminiforms.com) from DMB&B. Ads tout "clean comfortable protection" and note that the product comes from the maker of Always and Tampax.

Envive miniforms, designed to be placed between the labia, can be used during menstruation as a replacement or supplement for pads or tampons. They also can be used as an everyday hygiene product, according to ads. The products are also flushable, allowing "clean, touchless disposal."

Envive marks the second new feminine hygiene product category P&G has launched in the past year, following the rollout of Always feminine hygiene wipes this spring. The new initiatives come as P&G's sales and market share for Always and Tampax have fallen in the combined $2 billion U.S. feminine protection category and globally in the past year. In the U.S., P&G's share fell 1.8 percentage points to 40.8% for the 52 weeks ended March 26, according to Information Resources Inc.


Impress plastic wrap, which entered test market in Grand Junction, Colo., in January, is gearing for a spring 2001 launch in the U.S., and a rollout into other global markets is likely as well, according to P&G representatives at the Food Marketing Institute's 2000 supermarket show earlier this month (AA, May 8).

P&G also plans to move its Bounty paper towel brand out of the kitchen with the September rollout of Bounty paper towels in a tissue-style pop-up box. Ad plans for Impress and Bounty weren't disclosed. Jordan McGrath Case & Partners/Euro RSCG, New York, handles Bounty; DMB&B handles Impress.

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