Febreze failed in the first year of its test market in Boise, Idaho; Phoenix; and Salt Lake City largely because the 30-second ads positioned the product too narrowly, as a way to remove cigarette smoke odor from dry-clean-only fabrics, said Jamie Egasti, director of marketing-new laundry and cleaning products.
P&G's research with heavy Febreze users found people were using it on a much broader range of items, such as sofas, carpets, tennis shoes and car interiors, some of which weren't originally anticipated.
FROM SMOKERS TO PARENTS
Besides households with smokers, Febreze also appealed strongly to homes with pets, teens and younger children, Mr. Egasti said.
For the rollout, P&G has restaged the product with new packaging graphics and advertising that focused on the broader range of uses, plus how Febreze differs from other cleaning and laundry products.
Those spots, with minor modifications, will support the initial rollout. They break nationally in July, from Grey Advertising, New York.
Unlike air fresheners or fabric conditioners, Febreze doesn't rely on perfumes to cover up odors. Instead, it chemically binds with odors to eliminate them, Mr. Egasti said.
"The 45-second [commercial] has worked very successfully in our second year," he said.
P&G hopes the brand will ultimately become a big business. Although it won't disclose Febreze test-market sales, results are said to have been similar to test results of P&G's Downy fabric conditioner in the 1960s. That product ultimately spawned a $1.5 billion category.
:30 SPOTS WILL COME LATER
P&G will fall back to the use of 30-second spots later in the campaign. The product's tagline: "Febreze cleans bad smells out of fabrics for good."
Though Mr. Egasti said Febreze addresses "consumer dissatisfaction" with other odor-removal options, test-market results show Febreze didn't take significant sales away from air fresheners, carpet cleaners or laundry products.