Possible extensions for such brands as Ziploc storage bags and Fantastik household cleaner could be good news for Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago, where S.C. Johnson consolidated all advertising last year. Johnson, however, said it won't decide on DowBrands agency assignments until the deal closes, expected in 45 days, said a spokesman.
The sale will end the $20 million umbrella ad campaign DowBrands incumbent agency Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis, has been running for the cleaning and laundry products. Advertising features Dow scientists and emphasizes the brands' corporate parentage.
FINAL LINEUP UNCERTAIN
It is still uncertain which brands S.C. Johnson will definitely keep. DowBrands' other major entries are Dow Bathroom Cleaner, Glass Plus, Handi Wrap, Saran Wrap, Spray & Wash and Vivid color-safe bleach.
The company wants them all, but the S.C. Johnson spokesman acknowledged an antitrust review by the Federal Trade Commission could force the sale of Glass Plus, in a segment already dominated by Johnson's Windex.
Another area of concern: The deal nearly doubles S.C. Johnson's share of the $205 million stain remover category, to 71%, according to Information Resources Inc.
Helping S.C. Johnson's case should be Unilever's 1996 entry into stain removers with Wisk Away, and the fact that Procter & Gamble Co. has at least tested products in the category.
The deal's biggest potential may lie with such food-packaging brands as Ziploc, Saran Wrap and Handi Wrap. The S.C. Johnson spokesman said the company should be able to bring innovation to these businesses.
In the four years since S.C. Johnson took control of Windex, the brand's product line has grown from three to six items and sales have risen 50%, said the company.
Such product extensions as Windex No-Drip and Windex Outdoor, as well as Shout Wipes and Off! Mothproofer, have received high marks from retailers.
Ziploc is the largest brand in the deal, and led the $831 million sandwich and freezer bag category in the 52 weeks ended Sept. 28 with a 36.4% share, according to Information Resources Inc.
But the brand has been losing ground to private-label entries and Tenneco's Hefty OneZip, whose sales were up more than 50%, continuing momentum started with a new closure system in 1995.
First Brands' Glad brand also launched an ad campaign earlier this month to introduce its GladWare food storage containers, Leo Burnett USA, Chicago,