Reckitt Benckiser and Colgate-Palmolive a “good fit” brand-wise

Reckitt Benckiser could be setting its sights on a possible merger with Colgate-Palmolive, according to rumours circulating the City today.

Cillit Bang
Cillit Bang

Brand experts say that given the portfolios and similar marketing tactics of the two companies, such a deal would make sense.

Consolidation activity has accelerated within the household goods sector recently with Unilever having snapped up parts of Sara Lee. More recently, S.C. Johnson entered the bidding for the latter’s air-freshener business – a move that would create a formidable player with the combination of S.C. Johnson’s Glade brand and Sara Lee’s Ambi Pur.

Reckitt Benckiser has been a source of much conjecture. Home to brands such Vanish, Cillit Bang and Harpic, the company is reported to be close to announcing a multi-billion pound cross-border transaction. The identity of its target is not yet known, with SSL International and Durex condoms reported to be among the ‘possibles’.

However, a merger with Colgate-Palmolive would be “seamless” from a marketing perspective, say experts.
Don Williams, chief executive at global branding consultancy, pi global, says: “Looking at the similarity in products and personalities of the two portfolios, I see no real mismatch at all. I can see Colgate or Palmolive fitting in seamlessly.

“Both Reckitt and Colgate’s approach to branding is similar – it’s very North American. That is, no compromise, hard-hitting products based on performance, innovation and big ad spend.”

Reckitt Benckiser says that it “invests more in media than any of its competitors – 12.4% of net revenue”. Media spend did fall slightly recently as a result of lower rates, yet savings were investing into other marketing activities, driving up total marketing spend.

The company’s third quarter results showed sales climbed 15% to £1.9 billion, driven by “significant” investment in media, marketing and new products. Revenue in health and personal care brands rose 14%, with brands including Dettol, Nurofen and Gaviscon delivering “excellent” growth.

S.C. Johnson & Son has joined the bidding for Sara Lee’s air-freshener business, according to people familiar with the matter, potentially creating a formidable player in Europe with the combination of S.C. Johnson’s Glade brand and Sara Lee’s Ambi Pur.

Latest from Marketing Week

Marketoonist on PowerPoint pitches

The Marketoonist

Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at or on Twitter @tomfishburne See more of the Marketoonist here Tom Fishburne will be speaking at the Festival of Marketing, which is taking place on 4 and 5 October at Tobacco Dock. To find out more information, including how to book tickets, visit […]


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

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

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest 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 will be your guide.


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

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email

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