Lysol Intros Hand Sanitizer

NEW YORK Lysol is no longer satisfied with disinfecting consumers’ homes. It now wants to make their hands germ-free as well.

Lysol’s Healthy Touch hand sanitizer rolls out nationally to retailers this month. Its first line extension outside of the home disinfectant category, Healthy Touch will provide direct competition to the popular Purell brand as well as others in the hand sanitizer segment.

Marketing will leverage Lysol’s germ-fighting equity while playing up Healthy Touch’s moisturizing and foam qualities. The “gentle foam cleanser” kills 99.9 percent of germs, according to its packaging.

“This market has been growing for the past few years, so it’s the perfect moment for us to go in,” said Silvina Vilas, new product development brand manager at Lysol’s parent company, Reckitt Benckiser, Parsippany, N.J.

The $93 million category grew 16 percent last year, per IRI. Purell owns 43 percent of the category.

A 30-second TV spot debuting April 1 will support the launch. The ad, created by Euro RSCG, New York, will feature a mix of animated and real-life scenes that illustrate how the product protects against germs found around the house while also moisturizing skin. An in-store sampling and display initiative will appear during the back-to-school shopping season.

Lysol spent $99 million on U.S. media last year, a 67 percent increase over 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Healthy Touch’s budget was not revealed, but it was labeled one of Lysol’s “biggest priorities.” The new product retails for $2.99 and $5.99 for 1.58- and 5.1-ounce sizes, respectively.

Lysol is the No. 1 disinfectant spray and toilet bowl cleaner. It is No. 2 in kitchen disinfectant and air treatment and No. 3 in the bathroom and all-purpose cleaner categories, per ACNielsen, Schaumburg, Ill.

Still, it remains to be seen whether it will convert consumers from their existing brands, said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, New York. “It takes time to migrate brands into other categories,” he said, “and not all brands are as flexible as others. Lysol would not be the first company that mistook a marketing opportunity as a brand strategy.”