01 January 2000

LEVER BROTHERS’ detergent brand Radion will be consigned to oblivion in the early part of this year, joining its illustrious forebears Vim and Sunlight dishwasher liquid on the scrap heap of history. The move is part of Unilever’s master plan unveiled last September [Debrief, 7-104] when chairman Niall FitzGerald announced that 75% of its brand portfolio would be axed, leaving the group to focus on around 400 ‘power-brands’.

Lever Brothers will now concentrate on just two UK washing detergents: brand leader Persil and its budget sibling Surf. Radion, whose UK market share has dwindled to just 2%, will quietly vanish rather than be put up for sale. Its disappearance will coincide with the launch of a new Surf variant, Sun Fresh, whose packaging will sport the same orange colour as the Radion pack.

Lever has also pulled all advertising [and presumably promotional support] for Lux Flakes, Stergene handwashing detergent, and Frish toilet cleaner. Unilever says it plans to publish a list confirming which brands are to be axed and which reprieved.