Lever is launching Persil detergent tablets nationally this week in its most significant new product introduction since the ill-fated Persil Power launch of 1994.
The tablets are being sold into supermarkets this week, and will appear on shelves from next week. A heavyweight advertising campaign to back the launch is expected through J Walter Thompson, breaking at the beginning of May.
The tablets are versions of two of Persil’s three sub-brands, Original Non-Biological and Persil Performance, which between them account for about 90 per cent of Persil sales. There is no tablet version of the third variant, Persil Colour.
The tablets come in two pack sizes, a 24-pack priced at 3.09 and 40 tablets at 4.89. It is thought the cost per wash will be the same as for standard powders and liquids.
Lever is seeking to reverse its declining share of the laundry detergent market, which has shrunk from half to about a quarter over the past twenty years under pressure from own-label products and rival Procter & Gamble’s Ariel. Lever was hit in 1994 when it launched Persil Power, but had to withdraw it after P&G revealed that it rotted clothes.
Lever hopes tablets will attract consumers of concentrated detergents which have declined in popularity as consumers believe they use too much.
Tablets offer a single dosage, so there is a fear that total sales volumes could be driven down. But Lever also hopes to benefit from increased consumer satisfaction.
Procter & Gamble is testing its own tablet form of market leading detergent Ariel, called Ariel Discs. It will launch this nationally in October if the tests prove successful.