In this prolonged down economy, consumers are deciding that they don’t need to dine at the fanciest restaurant, buy a new wardrobe for every season, or even wash with the top-of-the-line laundry detergent. This trend was duly noted by Procter & Gamble, maker of the premium-priced Tide. With the Tide brand experiencing some of the steepest sales declines in its 62-year history, P&G looked for a way to compete with cheaper private label soaps by issuing a no-frills version of Tide. Instead of its continuous promise of “New and Improved,” P&G opted to remove some of the pricier cleaning additives from its Tide formulation in order to slash the cost by more than 20%.
Attaching the Tide name to this down-market soap, however, was fraught with peril. How do you make sure that Tide “loyalists” remain faithful to the higher-priced “true” Tide, while implying to thrift-conscious shoppers that this version — although not as good — had Tide qualities that made it superior to budget generics?