Lever tablets to block P&G move

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.

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

year’.



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

Lintas.



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

Persil tablets.



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

Radion 3%.



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

quantity used.



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.