Bubble bursts for Persil Power

Now that Lever is to launch a “competitor” to Persil Power, in New Generation Persil, it will be a matter of time before the brand is killed off altogether.

The decision to announce the launch of New Generation Persil last week was made to coincide with the launch of rival Ariel Future, Procter & Gamble’s replacement for Ariel Ultra (MW November 4).

P&G claims that the formula for Ariel Future has been in research for five years. Its launch will coincide with the publication of two reports from the Advertising Standards Authority and the Consumers’ Association.

Lever’s marketing director Tim Hammond admits the New Persil brand will eat into the existing sales of Persil Power. “It was a commercial decision, says Hammond. “New Generation Persil uses exactly the same technology as Persil Power except for the manganese accelerator. It is intended to fill the gap vacated by Persil Power,” Hammond adds that 2 million consumers are still buying Persil Power.

Amazingly, New Generation Persil has been in research since November. “It was developed in response to the confusing publicity. We felt the need to put out a new version as quickly as possible to consumers,” says Hammond.

Lever Brothers was forced to reduce the amount of manganese in the powder by 80 per cent after admitting that Persil Power could damage clothes.

“We were forced to reposition Persil Power last June after all of the negative press. It became too niche and it has been replaced by a mainline brand,” says a Lever spokeswoman.

The ASA Report, expected on February 8, is understood to have changed little from the leaked draft document, revealed in Marketing Week (MW December 2) which criticised P&G’s knocking ad.

The Consumers’ Association which is investigating the effects of the manganese accelerator in the reformulated Persil Power, Radion Microactive and Superconcentrated Surf, is expected to find that the manganese accelerator, even at the reduced levels, causes damage to clothes.

Lever has stopped buying further stocks of the accelerator from specialist chemical company Hickson International which had a contract for further supplies on a “take-or-pay” basis until the middle of next year.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here