Lever Brothers is to capitalise on the lead that its Persil tablets
have given it over Procter & Gamble’s Ariel by launching laundry
detergent tablets for its Surf and Radion brands next year.
According to a Lever source, producing tablet versions of Surf and
Radion is the ’logical next step’. Launches are expected ’sometime next
The decision follows the success of its tablet version of Persil washing
powder, introduced in May. Persil tablets’ success has meant that the
Persil brand now sells more than Ariel, for the first time since
Persil’s sales were hit by the Persil Power fiasco of 1994.
IRI figures show that for the four weeks to August 9 Persil’s value
share was 27%, ahead of Ariel’s 18.8%.
It is expected that any television advertising for a tablet version of
the Surf brand will be handled by existing agency Ammirati Puris
Brann, the direct marketing agency which introduced ’sniff and scratch’
bus tickets for Radion last year, would be well-placed to handle direct
marketing for both Surf and Radion.
However, the position of incumbent Ogilvy & Mather - which handled the
last Radion TV campaign two years ago - is not clear.
A spokesman said: ’The decision to use O&M is still very much in the
melting pot.’ J Walter Thompson handled the advertising campaign for
Lever Brothers said it has sold nine million packs of Persil tablets
since the launch.
The popularity of Persil tablets has pushed Lever Brothers overall share
of the UK market up to just over 30%, of which Surf accounts for 5% and
A spokesman for Lever Brothers attributed the success of Persil tablets
to their ability to offer consumers a clearer way of buying detergents.
Offering the product in tablet form avoids consumers’ need to guess the
The company has been progressively cutting down the number of variants
in its detergent brands over the past few years.
However, overall market share still belongs to Procter & Gamble, with
the company commanding just over 50% of sales due to its Ariel, Bold,
Daz and Fairy brands.
Meanwhile, Procter & Gamble is still trialling its rival tablet product,
Ariel Discs, in the Grimsby and Cleethorpes area. A spokesman refused to
reveal a launch date.