SCA selects Publicis for £10m Velvet assignment

Publicis has won the creative assignment on the £10 million Velvet toilet tissue account in advance of what will be a major brand extension for the product.

The decision ends a four-year tenure of the account by Roose, which created a series of ads featuring a Hyacinth Bucket-type comic character.

Roose repitched for the business against Fallon and Clemmow Hornby Inge as part of efforts by its manufacturer, SCA Hygiene Products, to make Velvet a better competitor to the market leading Kimberly-Clark Andrex brand and Procter & Gamble's Charmin.

SCA said it was moving into a "new development phase" for the brand, marked by the impending launch of Velvet Aroma, a new toilet tissue with a fragrant cardboard core. The product is claimed to be the first of its kind and is intended to make the bathroom smell fresher.

The initiative comes as the major players struggle to stop toilet tissue turning into a commodity market in which own-label products have a 40 per cent share.

Manufacturers had been competing with heavy promotions and price reductions since P&G's entry into the market with Charmin two years ago. More recently, the emphasis has been on product quality in line with a consumer trend to "trade up".

There has also been a recognition that toilet tissue is a product everybody has to buy and that heavy discounting will not encourage people to use more.

SCA, which also manufactures the Bodyform sanpro range, sees Velvet, with its 12.8 per cent market share, as the main challenger to Andrex, which claims a 32 per cent share. Publicis is understood to be working on a new TV-led campaign.

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