"We were the unwanted stepchild," says Drake Stimson, 35, brand manager of Febreze and part of the P&G marketing team that brought it to life in 1995 and to the market nationally in June 1998.
Today, however, P&G's first new national consumer brand in more than a decade looks like an unqualified success. Febreze is on pace for $250 million in retail sales its first year, more than double the $100 million P&G promised the retail trade.
Mr. Stimson says the brand ranks behind only Nabisco's SnackWell's in first-year sales among new brands of the 1990s, and ranks as the decade's biggest new category-creating package-goods brand.
He attributes Febreze's success to two years in test market ,where the brand advertising concept was revamped every three to four months. The resulting national campaign from Grey Advertising, New York, was heavy on education and steered away from blaming consumers for odors Febreze attacks.
"The challenge of creating a new category is a heck of a lot higher than a line extension," Mr. Stimson says. "You're having to establish the whole concept with