P&G rallies allies (and foes)

The more the merrier for eco-friendly compaction mission

Procter & Gamble is carefully getting ready to go out on a limb. It’s making sure consumers are on board first, though.

The CPG giant is set to convert all of its liquid laundry brands, including Tide, Gain and Cheer, to a 2X compacted formula by next April in Canada and the States. In Canada, P&G is already beginning educational efforts so consumers aren’t taken aback when their favourite brands are half the size but the same price.

‘This wasn’t a rash decision. It’s Tide – the crown jewel of P&G,’ says Lee Bansil, director of external relations at Toronto-based P&G Canada. ‘The consumer has been in a shopping environment where bigger is better – there’s a lot in it for us to engage early on.’

Bansil and his team have already assembled an independent expert advisory panel to tout the environmental benefits of compaction via media interviews and public appearances. Members include Barry Friesen, director, Waste Management Services for the Niagara Region, Johanne Gélinas, partner, corporate responsibility and sustainability at Deloitte and Michael Lio, executive director of the Consumers Council of Canada.

Bansil also hopes to put together a consortium of other interested parties like competitors and appliance manufacturers. ‘Ultimately, our wish is to pull together a consortium [that] could produce an unbranded campaign around compaction,’ he explains. ‘We want to change the footprint of the sector.’

He says a big concern right now is that consumers will overuse the concentrated formula and become dissatisfied when they run out earlier than expected. ‘There are some challenges ahead, like dosing,’ he says. ‘The consumer is really savvy. It’s important she gets the same value from the compacted product as she did with her ‘fluffy’ [current less potent formula].’

Bansil says they’ve been able to get retailers on side by touting the storage and shelf-space savings the smaller packages will offer.

P&G is working with Toronto-based Canadian Business for Social Responsibility on the efforts, but Bansil won’t reveal which ad firm they’re working with on the mass communications campaign set to launch next spring.