3M anti-bacterial product

London, Ont.-based 3M will replace its line of Scotch-Brite household sponges with a new anti-bacterial product line early in the new year.Colleen Douglas, market co-ordinator for 3M's home care products division, says the brand, called Scotch-Brite StayFresh Sponge, will revolutionize the...

London, Ont.-based 3M will replace its line of Scotch-Brite household sponges with a new anti-bacterial product line early in the new year.

Colleen Douglas, market co-ordinator for 3M’s home care products division, says the brand, called Scotch-Brite StayFresh Sponge, will revolutionize the sponge category, adding it contains a patented material that resists bacterial growth.

The u.s. parent company of 3M launched the product in May, and has backed it with national tv advertising.

Douglas says her department is in the midst of developing a marketing and advertising strategy for StayFresh, which will be handled by Vickers & Benson Advertising of Toronto.

She says one option the company has is to run the u.s. tv spot in Canada, but adds that is unlikely because ‘our budgets are very tight.’

Nielsen Marketing Research reports Canadians spend about $27 million annually on mechanical cleaning products, including sponges, scour sponges and soap-filled pads.

Sponge sales account for about 29% of that total.

Douglas says 3M’s share of the sponge market is ‘very small,’ but adds the company hopes to become a leading player in the category on the strength of the new brand.

Alternative products

In addition to targetting the consumer base of competing sponge makers, 3M is aiming to take business away from alternative products.

Larry Reid, 3M’s marketing manager of home care products, says the company’s challenge is to ‘re-educate consumers, and move them away from paper towels and J Cloths.’

Distribution of StayFresh is expected to get under way in February or March, with shipments of StayFresh timed to replace existing stock as it is depleted.