Fairy’s brand bubble never seems to burst
It is often said that somebody who has been trained in marketing at Proctor and Gamble can go on to successfully market anything. Proctor and Gamble operates – mainly low value consumer goods such as household detergents are among the most fiercely competitive, and building brands is key to long term profitability. Differentiating one product from another in the minds of consumers can be extremely difficult, when one packet looking very much like another and in many cases are performing similarly. An analysis of one of the company’s flagship brands – Fairy Liquid – illustrates how the company has carefully nurtured the brand, adapting to the changes in consumer preferences and maintaining consistent standards while exploiting new market opportunities.
Proctor and Gamble first launched Fairy Liquid in the UK market in 1960. At that time, the market for washing up products was still in its infancy, with most consumers using solid soaps and only 17% of consumers using liquid soaps. As market leader Proctor and Gamble stood to gain most from a change in consumers’ habits. Its first task was to educate the public on the benefits of washing-up liquid. The launch of Fairy involved the distribution of 15 million trial bottles to about 85% of households in the UK.
Creating early awareness and trial of the product led to Fairy gaining a market share of 27% by 1969. Strong promotional support was, and remains, a key to the brand’s success. Since its launch promotional messages have focused consistently on the mildness of the product, its long-lasting suds and proud positioning as a slightly more expensive product which is better value and worth paying the extra for. Mother and child images have been used extensively in advertising. This helps to create brand values of soft, caring, homely image.
During the first 20 years of the brand’s life, product innovation had been relatively modest. However, since then and...