Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Unilever are planning to halt all advertising and marketing support for their dry washing detergent brands till April 2002, following a change in their product formulations.
Both companies are to reduce the levels of sodium sulphate – a supposedly benign chemical used as a “filler” to bulk up dry washing powder packs – in an attempt to be seen as environmentally-friendly.
The move is part of a voluntary code of good environmental practice, which P&G’s Ariel and Unilever’s Surf and Persil brands have signed up to. The reduction in sodium sulphate levels, which will be effected by April next year, will mean packs will become smaller.
According to a household goods buyer, a major “consumer education” campaign is being planned for next year to tell customers about the reduction in the amount of laundry powder needed per wash.
The buyer adds: “The campaign will be about changing consumer perception. The smaller pack sizes will confuse customers because they will still cost the same. Also, companies will look at explaining to consumers that more detergent powder does not mean whiter, brighter clothes. It only means waste.”
The reduction in sodium sulphate levels has been initiated through the UK Cleaning Products Industry Association (CPIA).