P&G ditches UK Lenor rebranding

Sonoo Singh
Plans to bring brand into line with US equivalent shelved in battle to win share from Comfort

Procter & Gamble (P&G) has reversed its decision to rebrand its Lenor fabric-conditioner brand under its US name, Downy.

The packaged goods giant introduced the Downy name two years ago, but will now ditch it. Lenor Downy fabric conditioner will be renamed Lenor Crease Control next month.

Downy is an established brand in the US. When P&G rebranded Lenor Fabric Enhancer as Lenor Downy, it had wanted to differentiate the "final-rinse treatment" product from other Lenor products - all of which use different technologies in their formulation - and also to bring it in line with the global Downy brand (MW September 7, 2000). Lenor Crease Control is designed to make fabrics easier to iron when added to the wash.

Industry insiders say that the rebranding will position Lenor Crease Control as a direct competitor to Lever Fabergé's Comfort Easy Iron, a fabric softener that claims to use "fibre moisturisers" to help the iron glide easily over washed fabrics. Lever Fabergé leads the fabric conditioner market with a 44 per cent market share by value, with Comfort dominating the market ahead of Lenor (Mintel, 2001).

According to an industry source: "The Downy name means nothing to UK consumers. It is the Lenor brand that consumers associate with fabric softness, not Downy."

The Lenor brand was first introduced in the UK nearly 30 years ago. Lenor Fabric Enhancer was launched in November 1999.

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