Brand Watch: Procter & Gamble

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Consumer products giant Procter & Gamble has a new addition to the laundry list of disruptive purchase behaviors among Millennials.  According to P&G's head of global fabric care, Shailesh Jejurikar, most Millennials do not use fabric softener!

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal detailed declining U.S. sales of liquid softener, which has put P&G under pressure. As the owner of market leading products Downy and Gain, P&G has maintained the safety of its softeners in response to consumers' concerns over harmful chemicals. It is not only these concerns but a lack of education on the product that has led to a 15% decline in sales between 2007 and 2015. Millennials "don't know what the product is for," said Jejurikar on a call with analysts this month.

To educate the modern Millennial clothes washer, P&G and competitors have launched explanatory ad campaigns. P&G is also seeking to alter perceptions by rebranding its product as "fabric conditioner."

We turned to our sources at for a look into marketing budgets for fabric softeners (a.k.a. conditioners).

  1. In 2015, Downy just about doubled Gain's total media spend of $35MM.  
  1. Snuggle, owned by The Sun Products Corporation, allocated over 40% of its media budget to cable television in 2015.
  1. Despite the press attention to increased marketing efforts, Gain decreased its media budgets significantly from 2014 to 2015.

Will P&G iron out the wrinkles and tap into the Millennial market? How will 2016 and 2017 budgets reflect new priorities for the CPG category?

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