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Cover Story: Parry and Advance

By: Karen A. Newman
Posted: December 10, 2007, from the December 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

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“I took all of my cues from the consumers,” he says. “When I joined, it was not a foregone conclusion that Febreze was going to be a success. We went back to the consumers to see what the future of the brand was; we were blown away by how much consumers loved the product.”

For Hettich, the passion consumers displayed for the product coupled with what they said about how they were using the product were cues that there was something much bigger going on. In his words, “We just had to unlock it. The only thing that took guts was to articulate it and say this is where we want to go.”

He led the brand into the $2.4 billion air care market in June 2004, with the launch of Febreze Scentstories and Febreze Air Effects. Like Febreze Fabric Refresher before it, Febreze Scentstories represented a new segment within its category—the air care category. Scentstories’ themed discs contain complementary scents and a specially designed disc player. While in the player, each disc spins its way through five scents, with a new scent “playing” every 30 minutes.

Febreze Air Effects entered the market as an aerosol spray designed to neutralize odors while adding a fresh, light scent to the air. “The air care market is a large, dynamic category where consumers expect and demand new experiences,” said Hettich in a press release announcing the launch. “Consumers already trust Febreze to freshen many kinds of fabrics in their homes, and we believe it is the brand consumers will also trust to fulfill unmet air care needs by bringing innovation to the category.”

Global Perfume Leader

Febreze’s expansion into the air care market was seen as a logical step for the brand. P&G research showed that nearly 70% of shoppers who bought Febreze were also frequent purchasers of air care products. And, as Hettich reminded attendees at Fragrance Business 2007 in September, P&G is a global leader in perfuming and the largest user of perfumes in the world, a position that carries distinct advantages. Chief among them is fragrance cross-pollination across categories. “Scent trends don’t just happen—they migrate,” he says. They start early in fragrance and beauty and then move to air care. “Being active in all those categories makes those transfers faster.”