P&G Introduces New Detergent ‘Swatches’

Tide Pods were a revolution when they launched in 2012 and have since spawned a new look for many detergent and soaps as pods took over the laundry room. But what’s next? Could P&G top the Tide Pod craze? Perhaps. And the answer may be in producing a new product line without using a key ingredient – water.

The innovative products are not in the old soap and detergent forms; instead, they come in small swatches that look like fabric, but foam when water is added during washing and cleaning. The new product form substantially reduces the size and weight of detergents, making them lighter and smaller to package, ship, and store. There are eight types: hand soap, face wash, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, laundry detergent, surface cleaner, and toilet cleaner.

Think about it. Instead of carrying home (or shipping) a gallon of detergent that can weight upwards of eight pounds, the new product can be carried home in a small box that weighs ounces, and is packaged in biodegradable boxes. This new size would allow P&G to sell direct to consumers. Pricing is higher than standard products though. A box of 60 body wash swatches are $19, while laundry detergent costs $29 for 30 swatches (compared to 81-pack of Tide Pods at $19).

One remaining topic is how to brand and name the new product line. It is currently being called EC30. P&G is still considering whether to create a new brand, or use another well-known P&G product name.

What is your opinion of the new product line?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  2. Show the IndieGoGo campaign that P&G used for proof of concept: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ds3-next-generation-cleaning-for-body-and-home#/
  3. A video of the product can be found at https://youtu.be/ToPjozrz6ME
  4. The product can also be found on Web site: https://ds3clean.com/
  5. For this product, what is the target market? Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc. (Note: Can the product be sold to organizations also?)
  6. Based on the target market profile, what makes this product unique for these customers?
  7. Poll students: How should P&G brand/name the new product line?

Source: Terlep, S. (22 April 2019). Forget Tide Pods. P&G bets water-free soap ‘swatches’ are the future. Wall Street Journal.

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Happy 60th Birthday, Barbie!

Happy 60th birthday to Barbie!

Launched at the New York Toy Fair at a price of $3.00 way back in 1959, today’s Barbie dolls have taken new shapes, sizes, colors, and careers into their stride. While Barbie has often been criticized, the original vision for Barbie – to encourage girls to think about their futures – still holds today. The doll’s original figure (tall, busty, Caucasian) is also still around, but it has also been broadened and diversified to fit today’s girls and society.

Today’s Barbie dolls include four different body types, seven skin tones, 22 eye colors, 24 hairstyles, and an extensive wardrobe of clothes, accessories, houses, and cars. Barbie has had dozens of careers. She is not only a fashionista, she embraces careers such as actress, politicians, doctors, athletes,  artists, journalists, mountaineers, activists, astronauts, teachers, and more. There simply is no limit to what Barbie – and girls – can accomplish. Barbie is equally at home in a robotics lab as she is on a farm.

And now Barbie is also taking on gender gap in The Dream Gap Project. Beginning at age five, many girls develop limiting beliefs about themselves and what they can accomplish. By age seven, girls are more likely to think that boys are smarter than girls. Barbie is taking this on by showing role model dolls who illustrate what is possible.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the product life cycle.
  2. Where does Barbie fit in the life cycle?
  3. How does the toy remain relevant?
  4. Show video of Barbie history: https://youtu.be/DXFVaYTI3uQ
  5. Show Barbie Web site: https://barbie.mattel.com/en-us/about/role-models.html?icid=home_body-2_module_role-models_p1
  6. Show the Dream Gap Project site: https://barbie.mattel.com/en-us/about/dream-gap.html
  7. Divide students into team. What else can Mattel do with Barbie?

Source: Klara, R. (25 February 2019). Here’s how much Barbie has changed since her debut almost 60 years ago.

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Tesla Keeps Shifting Tactics

Once again we examine Tesla. Ok, ok, we know we covered it last month when the company announced it would be closing stores, and then reversed the stores closing. Also last month, the company announced price increases for all models except for the Model 3. And that seemed like a lot for a relatively short period of time. But, Tesla still wasn’t quite done.

Later in March, Tesla announced a new vehicle named the Model Y, a compact sport-utility vehicle with an expected price of $39,000. Model Y will begin production in 2020, have a range of 300 miles/charge, and go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. Larger than the Model 3, Model Y will sell for $47,000 in fall 2020 with a $39,000 version expected in spring 2021. Tesla is now taking orders for Model Y with a $2,500 refundable deposit.

Next, in mid-April, Tesla announced that it is halting online sales of the Model 3 at the $35,000 base version. (Wait – wasn’t last month’s tactic shift about moving buyers to use online shopping? What’s happening?) Buyers can order the $35,000 priced version only by telephone or at Tesla’s retail stores. If buying online on Tesla’s website, the minimum price for the Model 3 starts at $39,500, 13% higher than in stores. This is the fourth price change already this year for Tesla.

Another point of confusion concerns test drives. On Tesla’s website it states that customers can drive a car for a week, or less than 1,000 miles, and still return it. Some stores have told buyers that is they test drive before buying, they only have a single day to return the car.  Also according to the website, car delivery should happen within two weeks, but stores have stated that it can take much longer in some areas, particularly if customers want the $35,000 base model.

It’s not good to confuse consumers.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss Tesla’s distribution model and compare it to other automobile manufacturers’ models. What are advantages? Disadvantages?
  2. Show the Model Y in class: https://www.tesla.com/modely
  3. What are the key differentiators for this model versus competition?
  4. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  5. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a positioning map for Tesla.
  6. Have each team draw their map on the board.
  7. Debrief exercise.

Source: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Assoc. Press, other news sources

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