When the Dirt Just Stops Washing Off

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Hot off the presses this week was the announcement that, once again, Proctor and Gamble is shedding itself of familiar brands. This time on the chopping block, Ivory soap and Gleem, the toothpaste. The whole story can be found here, in Brand Week’s “P&G Housecleaning May Sweep Away Classics.” Call us creatures of an era that’s rapidly disintegrating, but we get pangs of sadness when we hear about things like this. Ivory, in particular, started in 1879, and now, poof, it could be gone just like that. We know it’s a business and all, and if you aren’t making profits, you aren’t making profits. But P&G is being painted as something of a tyrant to we big softies, with quotes like this:

“There are no sentimental attachments to any of the brands at P&G,” said Brian Hankin, CEO at brand management consultant (r)evolution partners, Atlanta. Hankin pointed out that P&G has already jettisoned Jif, Prell and Comet.

And this:

“Either you are a mega-brand or you show you can get there,” said Kevin O’Donnell, a partner at Prophet, San Francisco, a branding consultancy firm. “If you can’t, [P&G] isn’t likely to keep you around.”

But if you’re an Ivory fan, there’s still time to save your beloved cleanser. They’re going to try one more big push to keep the brand viable. So call your designer friends at P&G and tell them to work extra hard or you’ll stop bathing entirely. Here’s some on that last hurrah:

In support of Ivory soap, P&G plans to launch a domestic campaign this fall (an AOR has not been named) and has Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore., working on a push for Canada. But the company spent only $2 million on media behind the soap in 2005, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus, and barely $100,000 on Ivory dishwashing liquid. By comparison, it spent more than $54 million on media for Dawn in each of the last two years.