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Bath & Body
Finding Inspiration for Household Soap
By: Ursula Horne
Posted: October 10, 2008, from the January 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.
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The development of economy and mid-market brands has created pressure products with a tradition for premium pricing; high innovation, therefore, is needed to justify the added expense. Two highly innovative products hit the U.S. market in 2004: Downy Simple Pleasures, a line of aromatherapy fabric softeners from Procter & Gamble, and Method with Morning Bloom, a fabric softener with fragrances that include basil and apple blossoms. Although these failed to generate positive growth, they did fend off decline in softeners in the United States. Another area for product development has been additional integrated benefits, such as Haming Frea from Kao Corp, a fabric softener released in August 2004 that, according to the company, prevents clothes from attracting tobacco and sweat smells. In late 2005, Procter & Gamble leveraged its successful Febreze fabric freshener into fabric softeners by introducing Downy with Febreze.
Disposable and natural
Convenience and preference for natural ingredients again have helped to drive innovation in this slow and mature sector. The desire for convenience has resulted in new formats such as impregnated wipes and foaming products, while the preference for natural ingredients has created a market for products with aloe vera, vitamin C and orange peel extract. These demands have led to the emergence of disposable dishcloths, treated with detergent that just require water to activate.
Colgate-Palmolive first launched DishWipes in the United States in mid-2003, and Procter & Gamble followed in February 2004 with the launch of Dawn Wash & Toss. Recent discontinuations of Colgate’s DishWipes product suggest that it is not winning market acceptance.
In mid-2005, Procter & Gamble led innovation with the introduction of Dawn Direct Foam Dishwashing Foam. The instant-foam detergent has a one-touch pump and claims to absorb “10 times more grease than ordinary dish liquids” with a formula that breaks down grease into particles, absorbs it into the foam and rinses it away.
Scent and imagery have been a key focus in product development for a number of years, and the trend progressed significantly in 2004—as exemplified by Ultra Palmolive Aroma Therapy. The extent of the trend was demonstrated further through the launch of Malie Kaua’I Inc.’s dish soap with aromatherapy benefits.