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Bear Necessities



When the topic is love and laundry, Sun Products has a winning combination with its Snuggle fabric softener franchise.



By Tom Branna, Editorial Director



Published March 17, 2014
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Bear Necessities

What do you get when you combine a great fragrance experience with convenience AND a loveable blast from the past? Snuggle Scent Boosters, say Sun Product executives. The single use packs, available in two variants, Lavender Joy and Blue Iris Bliss, debuted in January. Company executives expect the launch to help build even more momentum for Sun in the nearly $1.3 billion liquid fabric softener category.
 
According to Information Resources Inc. (IRI), Chicago, liquid fabric softener sales slipped 1.3% in food, drug and mass markets for the year ended Dec. 13, 2013. But Sun bucked the trend, posting more than a 4% increase in sales to nearly $201 million and a 15.7% share. Meanwhile, Procter & Gamble saw its sales decline 4%, but remains comfortably ahead of Sun with sales of $703 million and a 55% share. Colgate is No. 3 with a 15.4% share, followed by Dial (6.8%) and private label (3.7%). On its own, Snuggle is the No. 4 liquid fabric softener, behind two Downy variants and Suavitel.
 
Now, Snuggle Scent Boosters may be a game-changer.
 
“Snuggle Scent Boosters delivers on two big trends,” explained Bibie Wu, VP-fabric conditioning and visual branding, Sun Products, Wilton, CT. “One is the convenience of the single dose form and two, consumers can’t get enough scent these days.”
 
Plus, of course, the brand has that whole bear thing going for it.
 
“Snuggle Bear has been around for 30 years and there is a high recognition,” noted Wu. “Snuggle Bear has stayed relevant through social media.”
 
So relevant in fact, that the bear himself has 700,000 fans on Facebook, not to mention being a major player on Instagram and Twitter. Snuggle Bear could even be called a social butterfly now that he’s brought people together in the mean streets of New York City. To help mark the launch of Snuggle Scent Boosters and spread some love too, Snuggle took over Times Square on Feb. 14.
 
There, Snuggle Bear was on-hand to witness a couple renew their wedding vows after 21 years. Even better, one brave fellow dropped to his knees and proposed to his girlfriend (she said yes). Less impulsive, but no less loving, people could send video valentines and post their messages of love on social media.
 
“That’s an example of finding the right platform for connecting with consumers,” said Wu. “We are looking for cultural to make that human connection.”
 
Moments like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day only come once a year, but Wu expects consumers’ desires for all things fragrance to continue growing.
 
“We’ve seen consumers have an insatiable appetite for fragrance and mood enhancement,” she observed. “Convenience will be increasingly important, too.”
 
She pointed out that although unit dose formulas have been available for less than two years, they already hold nearly 10% of market sales. Wu sees the same kind of growth opportunity for unit dose fabric softeners. Snuggle is the first major brand in the fabric softener segment to offer a unit dose formula, so Sun is breaking new ground for the entire industry. Still, she’s optimistic and determined to help reinvent the dryer portion of the segment, which posted a sales increase of 3.2% to nearly $660 million for the year ended Dec. 13, 2013, according to IRI. Procter & Gamble dominates the segment with more than a 63% share, well ahead of private label (18.5%), Sun Products (12.2%), Church & Dwight (3.4%) and Colgate (1.5%).
 
“We need more innovation in the dryer,” she told Happi. “Consumers would welcome it.”
 
And Sun Products, with Snuggle Bear in tow, is only too happy to deliver.
 
 


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