Wipeout! Convenience checkmates conservation for Canadian consumers

So what's the story?
Remember just a few short years ago when companies and consumers were so very environmentally conscious? Well fuggeddaboutit!
Canadian consumers seem to have thumbed their noses at environmental concerns and have embraced the convenience offered by a wide range of single-use, disposable wipes products in the marketplace.

So what’s the story?

Remember just a few short years ago when companies and consumers were so very environmentally conscious? Well fuggeddaboutit!

Canadian consumers seem to have thumbed their noses at environmental concerns and have embraced the convenience offered by a wide range of single-use, disposable wipes products in the marketplace.

The technology arrived years ago with disposable baby wipes. Today there are personal care wipes for face, toe and all regions in between, as well as household wipes for virtually every cleaning need.

S.C. Johnson Canada began its venture into the wipes arena with Pledge Grab-It dry electrostatic dusting cloths for floors and has since added wet floor cloths and Pledge Grab-It Dry Dusting Mitts to that collection. Last August, it extended the line with Pledge Wipes to clean and polish furniture. This month S.C. Johnson is launching wipes extensions to two more of its leading brands as well – Windex Wipes and Fantastik Toilet Wipes.

Even a somewhat stodgy brand like Old Spice is getting in on the action with Cool Contact, Old Spice-scented deodorant body wipes that are being targeted to young, university aged men in the U.S.

Dove is also extending its franchise with Dove Body Refreshers, alcohol-free clean-ups for women. The Dove wipes are available only in the U.S. and there are no short-term plans to bring them into Canada.

Stephen Kouri, VP brand development, personal care products at Unilever Canada, says research in the U.S. showed the extension was a good opportunity in that market but Canada is taking a wait-and-see attitude and putting its resources behind its newest products, Dove Sensitive Skin and Nutrium bars instead.

Nonetheless, when it comes to household wipes, it seems the sky is the limit.

Why do we need more wipes?

Neil Chin, director of marketing for S.C. Johnson Canada, says it all comes down to a time-starved society.

‘We have as a society made a shift. ‘Green’ is still important. People don’t want wasted packaging but the number one consumer insight in all of the evolution of wipes is time saving and ease of use,’ says Chin. ‘The product needs to be easy to get to, easy to store, and then has to deliver the same product attributes and benefits of the traditional products.’

S.C. Johnson will be running ads from FCB Toronto for its new products that highlight their traditional brand attributes. Windex Wipes glass and surface cleaners will focus on the key benefits of the Windex brand – a clean, clear, streak-free shine.

Adds Chin: ‘Windex is pretty much the market dominating leader with just over 80% market share. It just makes sense to evolve this product.

‘We’re taking that equity and making it portable and easy to use whether on a stove, in a bathroom, a mirror, or in the car, as well as meeting a trend that’s happening in the market.’

Ads for Fantastik Toilet Wipes (Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Wipes in the U.S.) will concentrate on the tough cleaning reputation of Fantastik as well as the added benefit of the wipes’ flushability. Unlike most of the other wipe products that are throwaway, Fantastik Wipes break down and decompose in either urban sewer or rural septic systems.

What’s next?

The possibilities for wipes are endless, says Chin. In the household category, he says you just have to look at the cleaning needs homes have – and there’s still room for growth. He also expects extensions to include scented cloths and new fragrance introductions.

‘The wipes evolution won’t stop here and I think you’re going to see much more innovation,’ he says. ‘The winners that are going to be the leaders in this game are those who have strong brands today.

‘Consumers are always interested in different formats, but this is one that combines the strength of a brand name with the trend. It makes sense that this category is going to continue to grow.’