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Ivory Gets Another Little Slap

My generation grew up with a steady advertising diet of “Ivory Soap. Ninety-nine-and-one-hundredths-percent pure. And it floats.” 

Well Ivory Soap is now a hundred-and-thirty-three years old. In a market flooded with specialty soaps, it still ranks third among Procter and Gamble’s six soap brands. It has sales of a hundred-million-dollars a year.

Yet in the previous four years, P and G spent only $325,000 advertising Ivory. They’ve repackaged it and they’re spending a few million on advertising this year.

Ivory is the perfect example of the real meaning of brand equity. One-hundred-thirty-three years old, and still one-hundred-million-dollars sales.

Clearly, Ivory’s not out of date. Clearly, the consumers who made it a success have all been dead for decades. But, even with all the new soap brands they introduced, P and G had the wisdom to retain Ivory.

Imagine the profit margins today with little or no advertising burden. What a cash cow. There’s just no substitute for brand equity. Nothing’s more profitable than an old brand with shelf space and loyal customers.

Building brand equity is like moving a boulder. It takes a ton of effort in the beginning, but then you just have to give it a slap from time to time to keep it moving.

To reach Mr. Malmo, hear and read more of his commentaries, or to ask him your own marketing question, go to http://askmalmo.com.

My mother introduced me to WKNO-FM and public radio long before I can remember. I suppose the first thing I really recall about WKNO-FM is that every afternoon, when my mother picked me up from school, the radio was tuned-in to The World, then All Things Considered, probably beginning around age 8. The way these reporters and hosts took you from the comfort of your mom's van to wherever in the world they were reporting from absolutely fascinated me. From then on, I was officially hooked.
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