Secret Clinical Strength From P&G: A Marketing 50 Case Study

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Photo: Tony Pettinato
Procter & Gamble Co. had been losing ground in U.S. deodorants to Unilever for years, when it found a new star in Secret Clinical Strength.

Since Clinical Strength, priced at more than double the category average, hit the market last year, Unilever has kept gaining share, but P&G has gained faster. Clinical Strength accounted for all of P&G's gain of 3.7 points in antiperspirants to 34.1% from the first quarter of 2007 to the third quarter of 2008, according to data from Information Resources Inc.

Behind the success was the insight that 25% of women perceive that they sweat more than average. Prescription antiperspirants existed, but few women used them, says Janine Miletic, 29, who led the launch as brand manager and now is associate marketing director. Instead, they used "compensating behavior," she says, such as reapplying products or using restroom hand dryers to dry their blouses.

One key to success has been classic problem-solution TV spots from Leo Burnett, Chicago, such as one about anxiety surrounding antiperspirant "failure" on a wedding day.
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