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[duesseldorf]Procter & Gamble Co. and Kimberly-Clark Corp. are rolling out new superabsorbent paper towels in Europe, starting with the $200 million German market.

After a nine-month test in Austria and Hassloch, Germany, P&G is launching top U.S.-brand Bounty nationally in Germany. The product is said to have increased paper towel sales in the test markets by 25%.

In trade materials and advertising, P&G is claiming this will be "the heaviest introductory campaign [in Germany] in the history of P&G."


The German-produced paper towels are labeled in three languages-German, French and Italian-indicating a pan-European introduction isn't far off.

P&G watchers expect the company to spend up to $30 million this year to advertise Bounty in Germany, although competitors fear P&G could spend up to $50 million.

A TV campaign breaks this month from Michael Conrad & Leo Burnett, Frankfurt, backed by heavy sampling and promotions. Ads emphasize Bounty's superior durability and absorbency, characteristics existing German brands lack.

Kimberly-Clark has attempted to pre-empt P&G with a three-month, $6 million campaign in Germany for Kleenex Super Saugtuch. It began in February.

The company is discontinuing its previous product, Scott Super Saugtuch, a brand picked up with the acquisition of Scott Paper Co. The Scott brand holds an 8% share.

The 20-second TV spot for the Kleenex brand was created by Foote, Cone & Belding, London, and adapted for the German market by BMZ/FCA, Duesseldorf. It shows two women bending over a spilled bottle of red wine, while voice-over says: "Kleenex Super Saugtuch absorbs nearly all the liquid spilled because of its fiber structure and its absorbent chambers. Superior absorbency."


Michael Stohr, Kimberly's marketing director for towels and napkins in Europe, called the commercial "more of a value proposition" to demonstrate that fewer quilted Kleenex towels are needed to do the same job as rival brands.

The brand currently is in Switzerland and will be launched in Austria, he said.

The Kleenex brand name will not necessarily be used in future European markets. In the Netherlands, Kimberly sells Page Plus paper towels; in Italy, its brand is Scottex Ultra.

For P&G, Bounty is likely to be its only pan-European paper towel brand. Its Tempo brand, acquired in 1994, will be taken off the market.

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