Procter & Gamble (PG) aims to restore growth of Crest with new launch

Sensi Stop launch could demonstrate new P&G focus

CINCINNATI - Procter & Gamble plans to launch a new Crest branded product in September, aimed at people who experience pain from sensitive teeth.

Crest Sensi-Stop strips will be “a revolutionary new product technology that provides tooth sensitivity relief like never before,"  CEO A.G. Lafley told analysts during P&G’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings call. "One strip applied for just ten minutes delivers immediate relief and up to one month of protection from sensitivity pain for many consumers.”

P&G is already promoting the product on You Tube, touting its use of “the same ingredient as professional treatments to seal vulnerable tubules” in teeth.

 

More than 20 percent of adults ages 18 to 64 reported problems with sensitive teeth in a 2008 survey by the Centers for Disease Control. That puts P&G’s target market at more than 36 million people.

The Sensi-Stop launch could be a way to restore growth to the P&G's tried-and-true Crest brand, which lost market share to Colgate in the last two years, according to figures compiled by Euromonitor.

Crest’s U.S. revenue declined one percent to $1.53 billion during the period, with market share falling from 20.9 percent to 20.1 percent. During the same time, Colgate revenue increased 7 percent to $1.27 billion and its market share rose from 16.1 percent to 16.7 percent. 

The $2 billion Crest brand has a track record of big-hit innovation launches, with five products since 2004 that ranked among the nation’s best launches, according to the annual Pacesetters report compiled by the market-research firm, IRI. They are:

  • Crest Complete Multi-Whitening toothpaste, launched in 2012, with $89.2 million in revenue.
  • Crest 3D White mouthwash and toothpaste, ranked first on IRI’s Pacesetter list in 2010 with $154.1 million in revenue.
  • Crest Whitestrips hit the Pacesetters list in 2004 with annual revenue of $95 million.
  • Crest Whitening Expressions toothpaste and Night Effects whitening strips also made the 2004 Pacesetters list, racking up a combined $103 million.

In a July report on the $7.6 billion oral care category, Euromonitor predicted technology innovations would be the key to future growth.

“By releasing new products with a slightly new take in mature categories, producers can seem more technologically-advanced and in touch with the needs of modern consumers,” Euromonitor wrote.

Those comments are similar to what analysts heard from Lafley Friday, when he espoused P&G’s new strategy to reduce its number of brands and improve focus on the 70 to 80 brands that account for 95 percent of profits and offer the best chance for growth.

“We are setting the brand and product innovation agenda in our industry,” Lafley said. “When we do this well, we build consumer preference for our brands … and capture a larger share of category value, profit and cash.”

Lafley also confirmed widespread speculation that P&G will re-enter the adult incontinence market, with a new product launched in Europe under its Always banner. Two recent press releases also announced new products for P&G Charmin and Metamucil brands.


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