P&G's triple play in paper: Alldays, Bounty, Pampers

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Procter & Gamble Co., with key paper brands Always, Bounty and Pampers under pressure from share gains from rivals, is looking to bolster those brands with line extensions that promise either convenience or sex appeal.

P&G prepares to ship to retailers March 26 a new version of Bounty paper towels in a decorative facial-tissue-style box aimed at getting the brand into more rooms of the house for more uses. Towels roughly half the length of an ordinary Bounty towel can be pulled individually from the box. TV and print ads expected to break later this spring from Jordan McGrath Case and Partners/Euro RSCG, New York, position the product as an all-purpose cleaning cloth "For All of Life's Little Oopses."

The company also is readying the rollout of a swim diaper under the Pampers brand this spring, according to one retail buyer, though details weren't available. A P&G spokeswoman said the company hasn't announced a new entry into the segment.

P&G launched value-priced Luvs Splashwear last year, following Kimberly-Clark Corp.'s launch of Huggies Little Swimmers in 1998. The Pampers entry, however, could come with an added twist in line with the brand's new, total baby care positioning. In what could be a total beach baby care package, P&G has filed to register "Pampers Sunnies" as a trademark both for swim diapers and wipes impregnated with sunscreen.

P&G brand is already marketing its Alldays Thong pantiliners, aimed at what P&G says are the 17% of women who wear thongs but previously couldn't wear pantiliners with them.

Alldays Thong is being supported with a remarkably blunt print effort from D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York that doesn't shy away from sex appeal. The ads, running in February issues of titles such as Cosmopolitan and Glamour, show the back side of a seated woman wearing nothing but a thong. The tagline: "Months of research and very little to show for it."

Thong undies helped nearly bring down a presidency when Monica Lewinsky used them to entice Bill Clinton, but a P&G spokeswoman said they're not just about being sexy. Nearly 70% of thong-wearers are 34 or younger, and thong sales are growing four times faster than those of other women's underwear, she said, so serving the segment is crucial for a feminine product brand hoping to build long-term loyalty. "Women who wear thong underwear come in all shapes and sizes," she said. "[Thongs] also can help keep lines from showing in your clothing."

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