Creative Best Practices Opinions

Trends with Traction: Tide is rising for Brand Recycling

Posted by Adam Kleinberg on September 21st, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Remember Mr. Clean?

He used to show up to lend a "helping hand" to all those lonely wives stuck at home mopping floors? When I was a kid, I remember those commercials on all the time. When that brand was introduced in 1958 (no, I was not a kid yet in 1958), it became the #1 cleaning agent in the country in just six months.

But at some point, Mr. Clean kind of fell off the radar. I haven't event thought of him in years.

Proctor & Gamble (who owns the Mr. Clean brand) aims to change that. P&G is very smart about branding. They know 3 things.

1. They know how valuable a space in my brain is because while it may shrink, once that space is there it never goes away.

2. They know that the Mr. Clean brand has a little of that space in my brain.

3. They know how expensive it is to create a new brand concept and drive it into my brain.

So, they're trying something new. Mr. Clean is becoming a car wash.

Mr. Clean CarWash

Mr. Clean is cleaning up

As this article Life Beyond the Shelf in Entrepreneur Magazine points out, P&G is responding to Wall Street's insatiable desire for growth by reinventing some of its most famous brands. You can now get your car washed at a Mr. Clean Car Wash in a select test market near you. Or you can get that ketchup stain out of your shirt with Tide... Tide Dry Cleaners.

Is this a good idea?

Well, there's definitely a risk of brand dilution. The marketing history books are full of brands that let go of their positioning and suffered dire consequences for it. Case in point: VW used to own "small" in the consumer's mind, but they wanted to capitalize on their brand. So, they rolled out big cars and over the course of a decade or so, they lost the "small" position. And they're market share. Now Mini has the small position. And so it goes.

Will Tide lose market share in the detergent space or will it just gain visibility and a new distribution channel (as it did for Apple)?

Only decades will tell, but once thing I can tell you is that this is going to be a trend we'll see more of. What will we see next?

Milk Bone Doggy Daycare?
Oscar Meyer's Weiner World?
A-1 Steak House?
Maxwell's Coffee House?
Pamper's Prenatal Yoga?

(I'm having too much fun now)

Vick's Vapor Rub Massage Parlors?
Pepto... OK I'll stop. You add your to comments.

The point is, with the never-ending pressure to do more with less, we are bound to see more and more brand reinventions. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a trend with Traction.

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