Colgate Palmolive has axed marketing support for its household cleaning brand, Ajax. Observers believe the move heralds the brand’s disappearance from supermarket shelves.

Simon Shneerson, business development manager for Ajax, says that support has been pulled from the brand in favour of Colgate Palmolive’s more profitable oral and body care sectors.

He adds that the company has decided not to invest in Ajax in the UK unless a new product can be found to rebuild the brand.

But he says Ajax is not being actively downgraded.

“You can take a resource away from something without saying you are not interested in it,” he adds.

Colgate Palmolive has been struggling to compete with Lever and Procter & Gamble in the household cleaning market.

Ajax’s share dipped from 2.5 per cent to 1.6 per of the market, by value, in 1995, according to industry sources.

One industry insider says: “In Europe Ajax is a massive brand, but in the UK it is struggling to compete.”

Brand husbandry has been slack and advertising non-existent for the past four years. The brand’s dormant UK ad account was taken out of FCB at the end of last year when Colgate Palmolive realigned globally into Young & Rubicam.

The last Ajax promotion by public relations company Cohn & Wolfe ran two years ago and no forth coming promotions have been announced.

It is understood that the company may keep the brand as a business cleaning product.