Ivory Gets Another Little Slap

Sep 5, 2012

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Clearly, Ivory’s not out of date.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.

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