The household cleaning segment is undergoing a flurry of activity. As technology evolves, manufacturers not only offer updated cleaning solutions, but also more sophisticated fragrances. Though these fragrances are not designed to leave a long-lasting impression, they do make the idea of cleaning more appealing, and add a perceived benefit to cleaning products, especially those that offer other benefits as well.
For example, Cascade Scent Expressions has a special technology that uses the heat from the dishwasher to activate the perfumes in the product to actually freshen the kitchen.
Some consumers actively seek out new cleaning fragrances, and are dubbed "scent seekers" by industry insiders. "We are targeting consumers who are what we identify as 'scent seekers,'" explained Procter & Gamble Fabric and Home Care spokesperson Melissa D. Johnson. "These consumers are 'scent savvy,' especially given the rise in scented products across many categories. To break through the clutter, we provide these consumers choices that are unique and appealing."
But fancy scents and innovative benefits are just half the battle. Household matrons are more pressed for time these days, running between work and soccer games. They look for cleaning products that won't create an extra hassle. "Consumers expect a product to deliver its promise of cleaning performance and are looking for products that meet their needs for ease and convenience," Ms. Johnson said.
No Moping about Mopping
Mopping isn't all about murky water and mildew-ridden mops anymore. The $484 million mop segment grew 17.4% last year, according to Information Resources Inc. (IRI), Chicago. P&G was the first to introduce a mop that does not need a bucket or water with its Swiffer Sweeper. The attachable and disposable Swiffer WetJet cloths and Swiffer Dry cloths are available in Unscented or Lemon Burst. The wet clothes are presoaked with an advanced, pre-diluted cleaning solution that dissolves stains on contact and dries quickly without streaks, according to executives.
Clorox ReadyMop Advanced floor cleaner, a similar product introduced in 2002, consists of a mop arm, a swivel-head for Clorox's Absorbent Cleaning pads and a handle trigger to dispense Clorox Advanced floor cleaner on the floor. Executives said the cleaner is safe for most floors. The fresh-smelling Advanced floor cleaner is now joined by a citrus variant, Orange Energy Advanced floor cleaner. Executives said Orange Energy quickly dissolves grease and dirt and leaves a fresh orange scent.
Clorox executives said ReadyMop achieved the fastest speed-to-retail distribution-six weeks-in the company's history. Executives also said Clorox ReadyMop holds a leadership position in the convenience mopping systems segment in U.S. food, drug and mass merchandise retail outlets, illustrating the public's interest in quick and convenient cleaning items. For the year ended Oct. 6, 2002, Clorox Ready Mop was the No. 4 brand in the floor cleaner segment, IRI said.
Pledge Grab-It Go Mop from S.C. Johnson has a swivel head, strong frame and trigger handle which dispenses the foaming cleaning solution with a squeeze and easily gets to hard-to-reach places. Executives said it works on all types of floors-finished wood, vinyl, ceramic tile, laminate, linoleum and marble. The cloths on the bottom are disposable, as well as the cans with the cleaning solution. Pledge Grab-It cloths are available in unscented, Fresh Citrus and the new Refreshing Breeze outdoorsy scent.
In the Orange Grove
Citrus-based scents are increasingly popular in the household cleaning segment. Some executives said it is linked to nostalgia of age-old cleaning products that actually used the cleaning power of lemons. Others said citrus is a universally appealing fragrance that adds pleasure to the task of cleaning.
Pledge Furniture polish from S.C. Johnson is available in a variety of scents, including Glade Country Garden, Glade Rainshower, Lemon and Orange. The new Pledge with Orange Oil comes in an easy-to-use trigger spray bottle and is also available in wipe form. Orange-scented products, S.C. Johnson executives contend, are the best sellers.
"Orange oil is known for its efficacy in cleaning and also has a great scent," explained Therese M. Van Ryne, manager of worldwide corporate public affairs for S.C. Johnson.
But orange fragrances aren't always what they seem. Sometimes they are enhanced by other notes to give a fuller impression. "In the past year, natural oils and extracts have been extremely popular around the world," Ms. Van Ryne said. "By taking the original lemon fragrance, for example, and adding a touch of mandarin and grapefruit, the original lemon is modernized to create a trendy citrus fragrance."
Ms. Van Ryne noted that new fragrances are often related to cultural trends. For example, Asian cuisine is popular and these food flavors have been extended into home cleaning.
"Citrus is always big in cleaning products because it is so refreshing," explained Annette Green, president emeritus of The Fragrance Foundation. "But as fragrances become more sophisticated, the fragrances will move beyond just citrus. For example, look for floral and food-like scents."
Cascade Scent Expressions and Cascade Complete with Clean Dissolve formula introduced a Citrus Breeze scent in September.
"We conduct consumer research to understand the scent-seeking consumer as well as identify scent trends in the marketplace," said P&G's Ms. Johnson. "In particular, Cascade Complete is a combination of several different citrus elements to create the perfect blend."
In the past year, Clorox introduced Formula 409 Orange Power and Pine-Sol Orange Energy.
|Windex has expanded with Mountain Berry and Sparkling Orange.|
Wipe Away the Grime
The various fragrance trends can also be applied to the fast growing and convenient wipe segment, which increased 36.6% for the year ended Oct. 6, according to IRI. Orange Glo International, Denver, CO, recently introduced Orange Clean Kitchen and Bathroom wipes and Orange Glo Polishing cloths for wood. These wipes both utilize cold-pressed Valencia orange oil, the basis of the company's Orange Glo line.
"When we started marketing our orange oil-based cleaners, we had a choice of all grades," said Orange Glo president and chief executive officer Joel Appel. "We chose one that delivered equally good cleansing as other oils, and had a great fragrance."
Executives said these new products comprise the first national launch of citrus-scented all-purpose wipes. And orange oil is known to both condition wood and please consumers' noses. "Citrus is associated with a fresh environment and lemon has been used in cleaning products for years," explained Mr. Appel. "It has now changed to orange oil which gives a natural, fresh fragrance."
OxiClean Instant Spot Remover wipes also recently debuted. They are portable and do not disintegrate on fabric or redeposit dirt.
New Wipes from Colgate
One of Colgate's latest wipes is Murphy Soft Wipe. This large wipe, pre-moistened with Murphy Oil soap, comes in a resealable pouch of 18 wipes and is safe for use on all finished or painted wood surfaces. Executives said Murphy Soft Wipe, along with wipes pre-moistened with everything from deodorants to glass cleaners, allows consumers to spend more time relaxing with their friends and families and less time cleaning up after them. It also cuts down on the backbreaking work of carrying heavy bottles and buckets.
In November, Reckitt Benckiser attributed strong third quarter results to its new range of surface care wipes. Lysol introduced a liquid in-toilet-bowl device, floor wipes, Rapid Dry floor cleaner and disinfectant sprays. IRI reported Lysol All-Purpose cleaner/disinfectant is the No. 2 disinfectant. Reckitt executives said more than 50% of households use Lysol products, and the latest scent addition is "Breeze."
P&G recently introduced Mr. Clean Wipes-Ups in Lemon Scent (beige dispenser) and Fresh Scent (white dispenser). S.C. Johnson launched Windex Glass & Surface wipes, a quick and easy way to clean glass and other hard surfaces. They are sold in a resealable package. A survey of Boston residents showed 82% of consumers thought window cleaning would be easier with a wipe. Also, 41% of the respondents ranked window cleaning as their least favorite household chore, compared to dusting and dishes.
Using the same cleaning power, the new Windex Foaming Glass & Multi-Surface cleaner stays in place on glass and other surfaces to facilitate cleaning and create "streak-free shine." Executives said these new Windex products help people save time and energy.
Reckitt Benckiser introduced the first product designed to clean the splattered interior of a microwave-Easy-Off Heat-Activated Microwave wipes. The pouches are heated in the microwave and release a lemon-scented cleaning mist.
|Aromatherapy is touted in Palmolive's new Anti-Stress and Energy dish liquids.|
Aromatherapy for Arduous Tasks
Citrus fragrances aren't the only popular fragrances. It seems that the aromatherapy trend that emerged in the natural personal care market has bridged over to cleaners. Colgate is exploring the world of aromatherapy with Palmolive Aromatherapy dish liquids. Introduced in October, the purple Anti-Stress dish liquid contains lavender and ylang ylang essences, while the green Energy soap infuses mandarin and green tea.
The Aromatherapy dish liquids retail in 13- and 25-oz. sizes.
Colgate's aromatherapy concept is actually shared from its Softsoap Aroma-therapy body wash and liquid hand soaps.
"Palmolive Aromatherapy is capitalizing on the growing demand for aromatherapy cleaning products, as new high-end cleaning products featuring aromatic scents are a hot trend," said a Colgate spokesperson. "Colgate-Palmolive brings these experiential fragrances and sensorial benefits to the mass market at an affordable price."
P&G's Joy dish cleanser calls on aromatherapy for its Ultra Antibacterial Tropical Calm dish liquid. Tropical Calm is described as a fruity, fresh and floral scent.
A Scent Like No Other
Citrus-based or aromatherapeutic fragrances may be easy for consumers to relate to, but as the fragrance industry evolves, consumers are exposed more to concept fragrances, which are very sophisticated.
"Consumers appreciate the opportunity to experiment with a variety of fragrances," said S.C. Johnson's Ms. Van Ryne. "Cleaning with unique fragrances gives consumers an opportunity to add new scents to the home and to make cleaning less monotonous."
S.C. Johnson decided to put twists on tried-and-true favorites. For example, Windex Mountain Berry scent is described as a fruity fragrance and a fresh-smelling way to create streak-free shine. Sparkling Orange Windex also recently debuted. Windex is the No. 1 glass cleaner in the mass market, according to IRI, with annual sales of $125.8 million.
"Consumers typically fall into one of two categories: they rely on original, well-established products like Windex Blue, Lemon Pledge, Fantastik original; they relate the fragrance to a cleaning product that works," explained S.C. Johnson's Ms. Van Ryne. "Or they seek variety, like to try new things and are captivated by new fragrances at the shelf."
Windex Mountain Berry features a scratch-and-sniff label, allowing consumers to get an idea of the Mountain Berry scent before purchasing it. The product also contains Ammonia-D. New fragrance options work best with brand names, according to The Fragrance Foundation's Ms. Green.
"Brand name companies don't have to worry that if they emphasize fragrance, the product won't do the job," insisted Ms. Green. "The cleansing component is a given. But the fragrance is an extra benefit as brand names lose more and more share to private label products."
This is ever more important in a society that is starting to loathe and even avoid chemical smells which was influenced by an influx of natural foods and well-being products.
"Chemical smells used to connote cleanliness, but they are now being phased out," Ms. Green insisted. "People are now more aware of how smell affects the way they feel."
P&G's Mr. Clean Seasons' Freshness is offered in four fresh scents: Spring Garden, Invigorating Breeze, Sparkling Apple and Summer Citrus. Dawn's Fresh Escapes lineup has also been extremely popular with consumers, according to executives. It comes in Citrus Burst, Wildflower Medley, Apple Blossom and Herbal Breeze variants. P&G's Febreze fabric spray, originally launched in 1998, is now available in Meadow Rain and Spring Renewal scents.
In August, Reckitt Benckiser introduced Professional Lysol Disinfectant Spray Plus Fabric Refresher that combines hard surface cleansing with fabric refreshing. Executives said the spray and refresher product kills 99.9% of germs in 30 seconds, contains a patented odor-eliminating technology and combats both bacteria and viruses. It also removes bad odors caused by pets, cooking and smoke.
About the same time, Reckitt launched Professional Resolve Spot & Stain Carpet cleaner 32-oz. Trigger, a stain remover and odor neutralizer.
A John Hancock for Fragrance
According to The Fragrance Foundation's spring/summer 2003 trend report, linen sprays and dishwashing liquids will be more fragrance driven with sophisticated fragrances, rather than the traditional lemon scent. Fragrance manufacturers will also offer signature scents in detergent, dishwashing soaps and other household items. "Consumers respond well to signature scents," added the Foundation's Ms. Green.
Carpet stains that seem as permanent as the furniture are a plague for many. But whatever the stain, Playtex's Woolite Instant Power Shot Deep Penetrating cleaner claims to be the solution.
It uses the Woolite signature fragrance, which was achieved by using a different surfactant system, taking into consideration many issues such as stability and foaming.
"The strong chemical smell was avoided intentionally, in order to maintain the fresh, clean impression that the signature fragrance leaves consumers," explained Jean Fufidio, vice president, household marketing for parent company Playtex. "Woolite has equity in the safe, yet gentle arena, yet it needed to communicate to consumers that it also works hard to remove those tough stains."
This pleasant-smelling direct spray is said to conveniently remove old and new stains on carpets without scrubbing, instantly. The product's trigger is also powerful and easy to use. Executives said the packaging communicates the product's cleaning power.
"It was designed to not only be impactful on shelf with its 'fire-extinguisher' nozzle, but the delivery system was designed to 'extinguish' tough stains, with a very 'targeted' nozzle," Ms. Fufidio added.
Counting on the Nose
All of these new products hinge on the premise that consumers prefer new fragrances, or twists on familiar favorites, as well as more convenience. But the scent is the main selling point when consumers see products on shelves. "Overall, scents are appealing to consumers in a way that help make the cleaning refreshing and enjoyable," said P&G's Ms. Johnson.
But fragrance do much more than make household jobs enjoyable. They keep consumers coming back for more.
"If people like the fragrance, they would continue to look for the product in the store. Fragrance can establish brand loyalty and even help consumers explore different fragrances in the same product," insisted The Fragrance Foundation's Ms. Green.