More Proof: Marketing Works

Fools and professional liars sometimes go out of their way to paint big business marketing as inconsequential, ineffectual, a gigantic feather preen.

Of course, that’s turbo-jive.  Evidence abounds that marketing alters behavior.

Consider this latest news from Advertising Age:

For the first time in history and by the thinnest of margins, body wash outsold bar soap last year in food, drug and mass outlets tracked by Information Resources Inc., according to data reported by Deutsche Bank — $756.3 million to $754.2 million.

The cause?  Corporate toiletries peddlers began aggressively marketing “body wash,” which, thanks mainly to its Earth-destroying, marketing-friendly packaging, carries far higher profit margins than plain old soap bars, to U.S. men:

Since 2003, the year P&G’s Old Spice became the first of the big U.S. brands to try the body-wash market, sales of deodorant bar soap have plummeted nearly 40% to $234.7 million last year. Sales of non-deodorant bar soap — dominated by the more-female-oriented Dove — have grown modestly since that time, just not at the steady double-digit rate of body wash.

Getting out to a head start in front of Unilever’s Axe, which entered body wash in 2004 in the U.S., ultimately didn’t guarantee victory for P&G. Axe may have showed up late, but it’s arguably (and yes, they really do argue) bigger in the category now, having overtaken Old Spice lately in Walmart facings in P&G’s hometown of Cincinnati lately, for example.

If you doubt the power of such efforts, click on this chart:

Change you can believe in…

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10 years ago

The body wash surge is a national embarrassment. And men are actually buying into this crap. Where’s Frere Loup when you need him?

Michael, our old friend Frere Loup killed himself on Feb. 3.

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