In-The-Box Thinking

Christine Bittar

Arm & Hammer Offers Blues cue for Fridge Pack

Church & Dwight aims to energize one of the oldest and most-recognized trademarks in the country, Arm & Hammer baking soda, with the launch of a refrigerator-freshener extension that takes the radical step of swapping the brand’s familiar yellow package for one dominated by blue.

The March launch of the Arm & Hammer Fridge-n-Freezer pack, codenamed “New Blue,” heralds an ambitious revitalization of the Arm & Hammer line under president/CEO Bob Davies as the Princeton, N.J., firm rebounds from a mid-1990s sales slump by offering more-differentiated baking-soda-based products such as Super Scoop Cat Litter and Dental Care Gum.

Backed by $7-10 million in marketing, C&D will employ contemporary-feeling ads devised in-house to “reeducate America on the benefits of deodorizing the fridge, and offer added convenience,” said Bryan Harpine, category manager of deodorizing products. The l6-oz. blue box replaces a 20-oz. Fridge-Freezer extension, launched in 1994 and now being phased out.

Network and cable TV ads, breaking March 22, feature spunky TV Food Network host Sissy Biggers to reach young moms. Spots airing heavily in spring and fall will encourage seasonal box replacement, changing the prior “change the box with the clock” message to “Use the new blue box when you change the clocks.” Other ads heavy up the product-benefit message, with Ms. Riggers proclaiming, “Now, even leftovers taste first-day fresh.”

C&D invested heavily to devise a box that would maximize odor absorption. Perforated tear-off front and back panels, designated in blue, reveal non-woven cloth filters made from a blend of polyester and rayon that expose twice as much baking soda as the original yellow pack. “Our biggest challenge was to identify a material that was breathable, yet strong enough to keep the powder in the box and be resistant to human tearing and manufacturing,” said R&D director Ray Brown.

The color blue helps flag the fridge-based use, with 98% of consumers in tests associating the color with “coldness” or a fridge pack, said baking soda brand manager Donna Corrato. C&D execs hope the features will be worth a 10-cent premium at retail, to 69 or 79 cents.

Biggers will anchor an extensive promotional, sampling and pr blitz this spring. C&D also will aim for “needy homemakers” who read bridal magazines with “Something borrowed, something blue, America says ‘I Do’ to the New Blue,” a promo which includes a contest that covers the cost of the winning couple’s wedding.

C&D will continue last year’s “clock tower” display and sampling program, with A&H displays in “big clock” metros. For back-to-school, a tie-in with Thermos brand lunch boxes will flag baking soda’s use as a fruit and vegetable wash via the tag, “Wash it before you pack it.” FSIs in April and October, offering 40-cent discounts on two boxes, aim to get consumers into buying two boxes at a time, including one for the freezer.

COPYRIGHT 1999 BPI Communications, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group

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