Thursday, December 9, 2010


Dan Jackson, Brand Manager, Procter & Gamble Co.

BATAVIA, Ohio ( -- Recession and oil spills are certainly bad, but they've ultimately helped sell Procter & Gamble Co.'s Dawn dish soap in the past year as the brand that combined innovation, value messaging and doing good to do very well for itself. 

First the recession. It was a boon for dish soap generally as people ate out less and home more. Dish-soap sales rose around 7% last year, according to SymphonyIRI.

But Dawn didn't rise as fast as some value brands and private labels. This summer it began what Brand Manager Dan Jackson calls "value reframing," including ads from Publicis Groupe's Kaplan Thaler Group, New York, and Omnicom's Barefoot Proximity, Cincinnati, pointing out that double-concentrated Ultra Dawn products have twice the cleaning power of non-concentrated products that had been gaining share.

Dawn's average unit price at retail also fell 6% in the 52 weeks ended Sept. 5, according to SymphonyIRI, though Mr. Jackson said price cuts weren't part of the plan. Regardless, sales rose 15% to $257 million on a 22% volume increase.

Dawn's dollar market share was up 3.1 points to 40% and 4.9 points to 41.7% for the 52 weeks and 12 weeks ended Sept. 5 respectively, partly on the strength of a new product launched last year, Dawn Plus Olay Hand Renewal.
A wild card for Dawn this year was BP's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which came days after the brand launched the annual campaign around its "Dawn Saves Wildlife" effort. For the past three decades, Dawn has donated enough dish soap to help clean more than 60,000 birds caught in oil spills, but the Gulf disaster put the program under more of a spotlight than ever.

"It is a rare thing to find a cause that direct links back to your brand's core benefit," Mr. Jackson said. "And that's why this has been an ongoing program for over 30 years."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

5 Gum

Paul Chibe, VP of U.S. Gum and Mints, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.

CHICAGO ( -- With its slick packaging, innovative flavors and highly produced ads, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.'s 5 gum continues to gain momentum in the sugarless-gum category. 

Launched only three years ago, the gum now commands a 13% market share, according to SymphonyIRI, which excludes Walmart. U.S. sales grew nearly 11% to more than $304 million in the year ended Oct. 3, putting it within striking distance of Kraft Food's Trident, the second-place gum in the category. Wrigley says the gum is on its way to becoming a $500 million brand globally this year.

The company introduced 5 in 2007 with the hyperbolic "Stimulate Your Senses" TV ad campaign -- by Energy BBDO, Chicago -- that equated gum-chewing with intense human feats, such as speeding down a high-powered cooling tunnel. The campaign continues today.

"When you push the envelope in your creative, [consumers] go with you because they understand that your hyperbole lets them suspend their disbelief," said Paul Chibe, Wrigley's VP of U.S. gum and mints.

The name 5 refers to the five senses, and the gum comes in 10 flavors, including "Cobalt," a peppermint; "Rain," a spearmint; and "Lush," a crisp tropical. But 5's marketing is as much about image as taste and smell. Targeting young adults, Wrigley put the gum in chic black packaging that Mr. Chibe said is a game-changer for the gum category.

"Convention is that you buy your flavor by pack color, and when you get to the shelf you see a circus of color," he said. For 5, black signifies premium, Mr. Chibe said, comparing it to black iPods.

Wrigley continues to invest heavily in the brand with new offerings. In March, the company introduced 5 React, which includes mint and fruit flavors that come in black-colored sticks wrapped in black foil. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Christopher Bailey, Chief Creative Officer

NEW YORK ( -- Fashion brands do a few things well (make beautiful clothes, create fantasies to stoke consumerism, help prop up the Champagne, cigarette and weight-loss industries), but understanding technology and the way people actually behave in the real world haven't traditionally been among them (See: spring collections showing in early fall, when shoppers are primed for heavy sweaters).

That has made Burberry, under Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey, stand out all the more as one of the brands that has been a beacon of what's possible in the fashion realm. 

Christopher Bailey, Burberry chief creative officer
Christopher Bailey, Burberry chief creative officer

The company, launched in 1856, literally invented the trench coat and, over the years, achieved status as a classic British brand on the back of its iconic outerwear. By the '90s, it had fallen out of the fashion circuit.

But a turnaround starting in the late '90s was perhaps too successful. Every luxury brand balances revenue-pumping accessibility with maintaining high-end cache, and by the end of the logo-mad '90s, Burberry had taken quite a nasty spill over that edge. The brand's signature camel, black, white and red check, once a graceful coat lining, was everywhere and in the early '00s Burberry watched in horror as its hallmark plaid became the coat of arms for "chavs" (think a U.K. equivalent of the "Jersey Shore" cast).

Mr. Bailey, who joined Burberry as creative director in 2001, started work reclaiming the brand from vulgarians. Dialing back the check, he mined the aristocratic brand vibe, while applying a modern sensibility. By 2009, after several critically acclaimed collections, Burberry was at the top of its game; it won Designer Brand of the Year at the 2009 British Fashion Awards, and Mr. Bailey was honored as designer of the year. The fall 2010 Prorsum collection, which tapped the company's military roots and launched a thousand luxe shearling copycats, was a massive hit. For 2009-2010, the company reported total revenue growth of 7%, to 1.3 billion pounds, with a 19% increase in retail sales.

Along the way, Mr. Bailey orchestrated some fresh marketing initiatives that only fueled the sense of modern energy around the brand.

In 2009, the company harnessed social media and fashion tastemakers for Art of the Trench, a website where people could share photos of themselves rocking their favorite trench and comment on other looks. In early 2010, Burberry, working with BBH, London, live-streamed its fall show in 3-D. The catwalk show during London Fashion Week was simultaneously streamed to invitation-only, Bailey-designed custom sites in New York, Paris, Dubai, Tokyo and L.A. and was also available online at

In June, the company showed off the Autumn/Winter 2010 collection with an interactive ad campaign that allowed viewers to navigate 180-degree views of fashion video, the products and models. For its Spring 2011 collection, the brand once again live-streamed its fashion week show, and also screened it at 25 of its global flagship stores. IPads were passed out to customers, who could then get a closer look at the fashions and, wonder of wonders, purchase them through a custom-built app. 

Monday, December 6, 2010


Rob Solomon, President-Chief Operating Officer

NEW YORK ( -- Everyone's going gaga for Groupon. The Chicago-based online company started 2010 with 125 employees and today counts more than 2,500 staffers worldwide who arrange, write and send its deals-of-the-day emails to an exploding subscriber base. In less than a year, Groupon swelled from 3 million subscribers in the U.S. to 25 million subscribers in nearly 30 countries around the world, including Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Russia and Argentina. 

Rob Solomon, Groupon president and COO
Rob Solomon, Groupon president and COO

While Groupon started out as a way for consumers to find neighborhood deals on manicures and pilates classes, it fast attracted interest from blue-chip marketers looking to goose sales using flash coupons. September marked Groupon's first national promotion, a partnership with Gap that sold 445,000 coupons for a total of $11 million. There are more national partnerships with retailers, restaurants and travel companies to come, and it's not stopping there. "At some point, much like we did the national blitz, I think you'll see some global blitzes over the coming year with major multinational brands," said Rob Solomon, Groupon's president-chief operating officer.

Mr. Solomon credits Groupon's rapid success in part to merely being the first to devise the idea of collective buying online to negotiate discounts on products, services and entertainment. "There's a first-mover advantage that really helps you," he said. "Until Groupon came along, there wasn't this phenomenon to [create something online that] moves hundreds of thousands of units in the physical world. We definitely struck a chord with a brand that resonates with small business and consumers, and we're solving problems for both of them."

Also spurring popularity is the social nature of each offer; subscribers are encouraged to share promotions with family and friends, and many of the deals are not only for products but experiences.

The success of Groupon is inspiring a crop of imitators, including Walmart, which recently launched a Facebook-based app called Crowdsaver that unlocks discounts once products get enough "likes."

Groupon has built its brand organically, via advocates endorsing the service by word-of-mouth and online, but sometime in the near future there may be traditional advertising techniques. "The next level of extending the brand is traditional offline media and techniques to build the brand," said Mr. Solomon. "If you look at the great iconic brands that have been built on the internet, they all go through that transition and I think we'll go through a similar progression." 

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Debra Sandler, Chief Consumer Officer, Mars Chocolate North America

CHICAGO ( -- The 66-year history of M&M's is full of big moments.

There was the 1941 introduction to American soldiers serving in World War II. In 1954, the "melts in your mouth, not in your hands" tagline was born. The candies hit a high in 1982, rocketing into space for the first of many shuttle missions. In 2004, personalized M&M's came on board. 

This year might be remembered as the year of the pretzel.

In a salty-sweet combo, M&M's Pretzel Chocolate Candies debuted in May, and their instant popularity has helped candy giant Mars post impressive sales gains for the M&M's brand.

Sales of small and large bags of all varieties jumped by more than 12% the year ended Oct. 3, with total combined sales of $708 million, solidifying the brand's place as the top seller in the chocolate candy category, according to Symphony IRI.

Mars, a private company, declined to disclose sales numbers for the pretzel version, but said that the new variety is beating expectations by 50%.

"It's a blockbuster product for us," said Debra Sandler, chief consumer officer for Mars Chocolate North America. "The biggest challenge is keeping it stocked on the shelves. "

The ad campaign by Omnicom Group's BBDO, New York, makes use of a technique M&M's has been using since 1954, when it first made the cute, little M&M's characters the stars of a TV ad. Orange, which made its debut in 1976, is the "official spokescandy" for pretzel. In one ad, he is nervous about them "putting a giant pretzel inside me."
Although it's a pretty basic combination -- and one that's been around for years -- mixing chocolate and pretzel in an M&M's was conceived only after extensive research, Ms. Sandler said. "This is firmly rooted in consumer insight," she said. "It's something we cooked up after we talked to consumers."

And it's also an example of how a venerable brand has remained relevant through innovation.
"They've certainly kept the brand alive and fresh," said Randy Hofberger, a Wisconsin-based candy consultant. "They seem to be modern and that always helps a lot."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Why P&G's $57 Billion Bet on Gillette Hasn't Paid off Big -- Yet

Five Years and One Recession Later, Company Says Value Is There but Hidden

BATAVIA, Ohio ( -- Just over five years ago on a Monday morning in late January, Procter & Gamble Co. shocked the business world with a $57 billion acquisition of Gillette Co., reshaping itself and its industry.

Though P&G was already beating most of its competitors handily on the top line and in market share, Chairman-CEO A.G. Lafley predicted that Gillette would add another full percentage point to the company's annual sales growth. 

Gillette Chairman-CEO Jim Kilts predicted the integration of what he called the two best companies in consumer products would become the stuff of Harvard Business School case studies as P&G reaped the benefits of "reverse synergies" from Gillette managers and practices and Gillette tapped P&G's beauty-care expertise. And he was holding plans for Gillette's first new razor system in seven years -- Fusion -- in his back pocket.
Stock since the Gillette deal

HOW THE STOCK HAS FARED: Stock performance between the day before P&G announced acquisition of Gillette on Jan. 28, 2005 and market close on Feb. 11, 2010.

Five years later, though, things haven't exactly gone as planned. Most of the acquired Gillette businesses have been a drag on P&G's top line, not a boost. Most of Gillette's senior managers (with the notable exception of current P&G Vice Chairman Ed Shirley) have left. P&G's stock has lagged behind key competitors', including Colgate-Palmolive Co. and Unilever, which have beaten P&G 4 to 1 and 3 to 1, respectively, in the stock market. The recession buffeted Gillette's core business -- pricey razors and blades -- and efforts to expand the Gillette and Venus brands into adjacent categories have had mixed results, at best.

But P&G executives and some former Gillette managers say much of the deal's value is like an iceberg -- it's there, just obscured under water. Gillette, they say, has transformed P&G in ways that aren't always obvious but have made possible aggressive moves in key markets such as Brazil and India; a much stronger operation throughout Europe and an even stronger showing on U.S. retail shelves; a growing investment and expertise in sports marketing and faster internal decision making. And the best, they say, is yet to come.

In June, Gillette launches its first substantial razor system upgrade since Fusion -- ProGlide -- promising a performance enhancement similar to that from the launch of Fusion four years ago. It will be an acid test of whether Gillette's trade-up model can still work in what's, at worst, an intractable recession and, at best, a jobless recovery. P&G will ask for the same 10% to 15% price hike over Fusion -- or about $17 for a four pack of blades vs. about $15 now -- as it sought a decade ago for Mach 3's midlife makeover Turbo. But Matt Wohl, general manager-new product development for global grooming, said ProGlide performs as well or better on purchase intent scores compared to Turbo, which launched in 2002 following a much shallower downturn.
The new system has seven key improvements centered on producing less tug and pull, including a thinner blade that requires about a third less force to cut through facial hair, along with blade stabilizers that keep the blades from producing microscopic wobbles that hurt performance, and a micro-comb that helps smooth the way. It all adds up to a significant decrease in irritation and an increase in closeness, said Stew Taub, research director-global Gillette male premium systems.

Meanwhile, to help deliver on some of the promise the combination seemed to offer for growth in deodorant, skin and hair care, P&G has taken a step away from the category-management model it's been working under since the 1980s and back, in a sense, to classic brand management. Mr. Shirley has recently put the entire Gillette mega brand into a single unit based in Boston rather than let individual category managers, many in Cincinnati, decide the fate of such products as Gillette body wash and hair care.

P&G's stock is up 12% since the day before the deal was announced in 2005. That's better than the S&P 500, down 8% over the same period (see chart). But it's worse than two of the three competitors most directly affected by the deal, including Colgate-Palmolive Co. (up 53%) and Unilever (up 36%). Realistically, few would have predicted the "Great Recession," which has swamped all other downturns in recent memory and hit Gillette's shaving and battery businesses particularly hard. Men were already starting to shave less before the downturn, and both men and women alike have fewer reasons to shave when they're unemployed or go out less often.

"It depends on how you define a good deal," said Deutsche Bank analyst Bill Schmitz. "If you've got a model that's built around trade up and trade up dies on you because of a recession, that's a problem."

As with virtually every deal in its history, P&G delivered on most of its economic benchmarks, particularly earnings, by over-delivering on cost savings, Mr. Schmitz said. Mr. Kilts, a noted cost-cutter, helped instill a discipline even tough P&G managers had never experienced before.

Even so, operating margins Mr. Lafley projected would hit 24% to 25% by the end of last decade only reached about 22%. Spiking commodity costs, slower growth in higher-margin beauty and personal- care businesses (including some from Gillette,) and a higher mix of business from developing markets all played a role.

Basically, like almost every deal in P&G history save the 1999 Iams acquisition, Gillette has disappointed in delivering on its organic sales growth target through its first five years. But it might just be too soon to tell.

Key pieces of P&G's 1985 acquisition of Richardson-Vicks, such as Olay and Pantene, didn't really take off until five years later in the case of Pantene and nearly 15 years later in the case of Olay. The 1997 acquisition of Tampax foundered on the top line for more than five years until the launch of Tampax Pearl in 2002.

Ali Dibadj, a Sanford C. Bernstein analyst who worked on the P&G-Gillette integration as a consultant with McKinsey & Co., likewise gives the deal a mixed review, with cost cutting being the clear standout.

Sales growth has been a challenge, he said, in large measure because of the recession and because "Fusion is pushing the envelope on what a razor can do" in terms of performance and getting men to trade up. Similarly, efforts to expand Gillette and Venus more broadly into personal care have been slower than expected. But he said P&G did get distribution gains for Gillette, and vice versa, in key emerging markets.
Executive talent
P&G did learn a lot from Gillette both in terms of cost efficiency and executing promotional programs at retail, Mr. Dibadj said. "A lot of the senior management obviously did not stick around, but the people who did stick around, e.g. Ed Shirley, are extraordinarily high quality. So I'd say it's still a positive on the skill set from a management perspective."

Executives of some competitors are less forgiving, contending P&G overpaid for Gillette and under-delivered on expected synergies such as the expansion of Gillette and Venus into adjacent categories. No one, however, disputes that P&G got perhaps the most-coveted brand in package goods with the Gillette men's shaving business.

One big and still relatively untapped payout from the deal is giving P&G access to the half of the consumer market it largely didn't serve -- men -- Mr. Shirley said. "That's really formed the potential for Gillette to explore the full potential of the strongest male brand in the world," he said.

"Before we engaged in the conversations with P&G, we tried to launch a male skin-care line of our own," Mr. Kilts said. "We just didn't have the technology or the understanding. ... Part of it had some traction, but it was really underwhelming. ... The same with the deodorant business. We just did not have the wherewithal and technology to be competitive."

Admittedly, the jury is still out on the degree to which P&G will be able to tap the potential of that combination. Male personal care is growing, but at least in the U.S., rival Unilever claims to have captured most of that growth, having accounted for 66% of growth in men's personal care, excluding razors, over the past five years, said Kathy O'Brien, VP-personal care for Unilever, citing Nielsen data.

Gillette has launched upgraded deodorants, a new body-wash line and a new hair-care line since consummating the deal in October 2005. While the deodorants have gained shelf space at club stores and the body wash has stuck (see related story, P. 9), Unilever's Axe has grown faster in each category, particularly hair care, where it soundly beat Gillette despite the latter's head start. Edge, first under rival SCJ and sold earlier this year to Energizer, has been taking share from Gillette in shave prep, too.

But the game is far from over. Part of the ProGlide launch is an ambitious four-item expansion of Gillette's shave-prep business, including a warming pre-wash, a cooling after-shave lotion and, in a fairly bold gambit for U.S. males, a moisturizer with UV protection.

Asked whether Gillette has been a good deal for Procter & Gamble Co., the latter's Chairman-CEO Bob McDonald gives an unqualified yes. But he also noted it would be interesting to look at the decision by another company not to combine with Gillette.

It's no secret that company is Colgate-Palmolive Co., though never officially acknowledged by either side by name.
Gillette was in repeated merger talks with Colgate more than two years before then Gillette Chairman-CEO Jim Kilts approached P&G, say people close to the companies, with Colgate ultimately rejecting the deal twice.

First, the rejection came down to price, or valuation, in a proposed merger of equals, with Colgate rejecting what ultimately looked like a cash transfer that would have addressed Gillette's less-than-5% market capitalization advantage, these people say. By the time P&G bought Gillette less than three years later, the purchase price valued Gillette at about double what its shareholders would have gotten in the combination with Colgate at a time when Colgate was just entering a restructuring induced largely by a marketplace drubbing from P&G.

By the time the second wave of discussions came in 2004, following Colgate missing a quarter's earnings target and suffering a steep share-price decline, the cultural differences were likely even more of a factor. Gillette proposed an outright acquisition rather than merger of equals. A person close to Colgate said that was unacceptable, especially given suspicions that Mr. Kilts would quickly flip the combined companies to another buyer.

Colgate has little reason to weep. Its stock has risen four times faster than P&G's in the past five years, and it's been beating P&G on the top line for more than two years.

But it does raise the question of whether a Gillette-Colgate merger would have worked better than P&G-Gillette. While Peter Klein, Mr. Kilts' longtime adviser at Gillette and Kraft, gives the combination with P&G an unqualified endorsement, he gives a definite maybe when asked whether Gillette-Colgate would have worked better.

One key goal in the merger -- to tap "reverse synergies" by incorporating as much as possible of a Gillette culture widely seen as a rival to P&G's for success in package goods -- has had mixed results.

All but one of the most senior managers from Gillette ultimately left the company, some despite considerable efforts and wooing by A.G. Lafley and current Chairman-CEO Bob McDonald.

Privately at least, some veteran P&Gers looked down on the marketing skill set of the incoming Gillette people. Some of the incoming Gillette people found the P&Gers remarkably resistant to new ideas.

Deutsche Bank analyst Bill Schmitz has contrasted a Gillette culture where "giving it the old college try" was acceptable, to a P&G culture where no defeat or loss of market share is really tolerated. "It's not a culture. It's a cult," said one former Gillette executive who tried to stick it out but ultimately left. But not all P&Gers drink the Kool-Aid, or they at least take it with a substantial grain of salt. And in the case of two senior Gillette executives who were much prized by P&G, either family or personal illness was the reason for their departures, not cultural incompatibility.

The rest of the Gillette people have either left or adapted. Some have done the latter quite nicely, including the company's top executive in Germany, its top media executive in China, and most notably P&G Vice Chairman Ed Shirley, a career Gillette executive who's now vice chairman of over a third of P&G's business: beauty and grooming. At 53, Mr. Shirley is three years younger than Mr. McDonald, and as such has probably the best shot at one day being CEO.

He's been spearheading a reorganization of his businesses along male and female consumer lines rather than the traditional category and brand structure. And he's made inroads in what looked to be a huge problem when he took charge -- beauty businesses that, despite steep acquisition prices or heavy ad investments, were losing momentum and share to global rivals. Organic sales growth of the P&G beauty business has steadily risen on Mr. Shirley's watch to 4% last quarter, which, while still lagging such rivals as Colgate-Palmolive Co. or Unilever's personal-care business, has lately been beating another key rival: L'Oréal.

"Culturally, it was a challenge," he said. "But ... I saw it almost as sport that I'm not going to let some of the long-lived cultural aspects get in my way. "

"A lot of the people who left were going to retire and leave anyway in the short term," said former Gillette Chairman-CEO Jim Kilts. "And I think we seeded the company with some great talent down in the organization, so time will tell."

Friday, December 3, 2010

Old Spice

James Moorhead, Brand Manager, Procter & Gamble Co.

BATAVIA, Ohio ( -- Isaiah Mustafa, aka the Old Spice Guy, ranks with Wendy's pitchwoman Clara "Where's the Beef" Peller among those who transcended ad greatness to achieve pop-culture stardom. 

His original February ad from Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., won a Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival and generated more than 20 million viral views, according to Procter & Gamble. The brand and Wieden followed that up with nearly 200 customized videos over three days via Twitter. The campaign spawned more than 140 million total YouTube views to date (including parodies) and generated 1.8 billion PR impressions, according to P&G.

But has he sold body wash? Undoubtedly, according to P&G, which points to huge sales gains for Old Spice body wash since February, which has led the company to claim men's brand leadership in the category.

Realistically, it's hard to know how much soap Mr. Mustafa has sold or who leads. SymphonyIRI data show Old Spice body-wash sales up 27% to 107% in four-week periods since February. But at typical industry redemption rates, the buy-one-get-one-free and other high-value coupons Old Spice has distributed since February would account for most of the brand's sales gains and all share gains. Since Unilever started issuing BOGO coupons, Axe edged out Old Spice in body-wash sales for the eight weeks ended Oct. 3, according to SymphonyIRI data, which exclude Walmart, dollar stores or clubs.

James Moorhead, the man (or brand manager) behind the man your man could smell like, 31, isn't your typical P&G brand manager. Having spent seven years coaching high-school hockey in Cincinnati before moving to Boston in his current role, he's doing what for most P&G brand managers would be like playing without a goalie -- letting his agency make ads without copy testing.

Mr. Moorhead has worked with and without copy testing. But he said copy testing wouldn't have worked for Mr. Mustafa's ads. For "Responses," Mr. Moorhead wasn't even on set, which said was a vote of confidence in Wieden. As for copy testing the original ad, he said: "Imagine 'The Man Your Man Could Smell Like' in a storyboard. .... It never would have passed. It really was about the executional magic that Wieden could create." 

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Eric Schwartz, VP-North American Laundry Marketing, Henkel

BATAVIA, Ohio ( -- U.S. laundry aisles saw plenty of broken dreams and discontinued products about 10 years ago, when marketers thought consumers were ready for new forms such as tablets and home dry-cleaning kits. They weren't. Tablets died, and home dry-cleaning products were discontinued or left to smaller private-equity-backed companies.

Dial and its subsequent acquirer Henkel were burned by both those failures. So it might have seemed crazy for Henkel to launch yet another laundry form -- Purex Complete 3-in-1 -- in May 2009 amid a deep recession, particularly when it was a premium product from what had long been a bargain brand. Yet two sets of concept and use tests from Nielsen Bases predicted the combination detergent, fabric softener and dry sheet would be a winner.

It was. Purex Complete generated $67 million in year-one sales per SymphonyIRI (more than $100 million if all outlets are included) and beat first-year sales for the next biggest laundry product launch of the year, P&G's Tide Stain Release. The Purex product took 82% of its volume from competitive brands as ads from Energy BBDO, Chicago, generated 80% product awareness among target consumers outside Purex's usual value-focused crowd.
Marketers misread signals from prior launches to conclude consumers wouldn't embrace any new laundry forms, said Eric Schwartz, VP-North American laundry marketing for Henkel. "We thought we could really shake up a sleepy category and stretch the identity of the brand," he said, making Purex about simplicity, problem-solving and innovation in addition to value.

Mr. Schwartz, who began his career working for nonprofits, later worked for Clorox Co. before coming to Henkel and spending time on global laundry-product development in Germany before returning to the U.S.
Purex Complete's ads focused simply on "what it is and how it works," said Mr. Schwartz.

Henkel also gave the product to bloggers, generating 2 million online impressions as part of a digital and social campaign by Night Agency, New York.

Among discoveries from social media was a use Henkel hadn't banked on -- travelers using the sheets. Retailers pushed for a single-use $1 pack to sell in trial and travel sections, and the product's portability also made for a strong sampling program driven by digital and social media. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Michelle Wilson, Exec VP-Marketing, World Wrestling Entertainment

LOS ANGELES ( -- Although it's a nearly 30-year-old franchise, World Wrestling Entertainment may be having its biggest year yet in 2010. Since transitioning from an adult-targeted TV and event property to a family-friendly, PG-rated property in 2008, the WWE has conquered more platforms and pop-culture milestones in the last two years than nearly all of its previous iterations. 

With popular programs such as "Monday Night Raw," airing on USA, and "WWE Smackdown," on Syfy, WWE content is regularly viewed each week by 14.4 million Americans -- only 60% of which are male, according to Nielsen Media Research. The cross-generational appeal has also opened new doors for the wrestling brand. Earlier this year, the company partnered with Mattel for a global deal to license and develop WWE-branded toys, which already rank as the fourth-largest property in the action-figure category in terms of sales. And it also inked a deal with Walmart as the exclusive retail partner for releases from WWE Films.

"Ten to 15 years ago, a lot of our core fans were coming to us for edgy superstars like Stone Cold Steve Austin," said Michelle Wilson, WWE's exec VP-marketing. "Our fans loved that content and shared it generationally, so as those fans got older in their late 30s and early 40s, they wanted to be able to watch the WWE and enjoy it with their kids."
The lighter touch has also caught the eye of Hollywood, with "Raw" doubling as a talk-show-like vehicle. Celebrities including Donald Trump, Toby Keith, Jeremy Piven, Snoop Dogg and Ashton Kutcher have stepped into the ring to promote their projects. "We get more viewers for 'Monday Night Raw' than all the late-night shows, so the publicists realized, if they're going to promote a movie, they'll get a much broader audience," Ms. Wilson said.

Also coming by early 2012 is the WWE's own cable network, which Ms. Wilson said will launch in conjunction with distribution partners such as Time Warner Cable or DirecTV. But all the exposure hasn't affected WWE's core business: events. This year's WrestleMania XXVI, held at the University of Phoenix Stadium, attracted more than 72,000 fans and grossed more than $5.8 million in ticket sales. That's an even bigger turnout than the 71,000 fans who attended Super Bowl XLII in the same venue.