Pur

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Thom Lachman started at Procter & Gamble Co. as a chemical engineer, but his job these days is convincing consumers how well Pur water filtration systems remove chemicals.

As marketing director for Pur, acquired by P&G last October from Recovery Engineering, Mr. Lachman, 37, also helped make the marketing chemistry work in a reaction of unprecedented speed for P&G.

Within two months, Pur had a new agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, San Francisco, and new positioning. New TV spots pointed consumers toward a revamped Web site (purwater.com). Similar moves following acquisitions of Millstone coffee and Tampax feminine products in the 1990s took P&G more than a year.

Pur's volume share of new water filtration systems is up six points to 25% since P&G acquired the brand, Mr. Lachman says, citing the move from the category's traditional better-tasting-water proposition to marketing Pur as a healthy alternative without the expense and inconvenience of store-bought water.

"We felt like the traditional Procter advertising approach of broader, shallower awareness was not likely to do what we needed," Mr. Lachman says. Instead, Pur used 15-second TV spots that ask the question, "Is there more than H2O in your drinking water?" and direct consumers to the Web site, which includes links to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ratings of local water systems.

He credits Saatchi with "pushing us to think outside the traditional problem-solution advertising models."

In another break from P&G tradition, Pur retained most of the existing Recovery Engineering marketing group.

"There was a great team behind this at the agency, at [Recovery Engineering] and the local marketing people at Procter," Mr. Lachman says, "who I think have really come together to make this work."

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