Unilever is to launch an aloe vera variant of Persil tablets and powder detergent to capitalise on the growing popularity of alternative remedies.
Industry insiders say that this will be the first time the plant, known for its natural healing properties, has been used in a cleaning product.
The launch, in April, will be supported by a £13m TV advertising and marketing spend. The ads will be created by J Walter Thompson.
One industry source says: “The new Aloe Vera Persil will be positioned as a caring detergent brand that will be soft on clothes. The aloe vera concept is not being extended into Persil Capsules.”
There are two other household products that use aloe vera. Kimberly-Clark launched a variant of its Andrex toilet tissue treated with aloe vera lotion last year, and Sainsbury’s own-brand toilet roll, Super Soft Plus, is also treated with aloe vera.
The aloe vera plant is used in various cosmetics products such as shampoos, sun-burn lotions and athlete’s foot treatments.
Persil Capsules was launched last year, and was said to be the company’s biggest launch since it introduced detergent tablets in 1998. Subsequently, the Persil brand has also extended into the “dark wash” detergent category with the launch of Black Velvet (MW July 12, 2001).
Most recently, the company pulled the plug on its Persil Revive home dry-cleaning product, less than two years after its launch (MW March 7).