CINCINNATI: Some might see it as a desperate search for a sales gimmick; others as a stroke of marketing genius. The latter option is the more likely given that its begetter is the planet's largest (and arguably most effective) advertiser, Procter & Gamble.

Using 'anti-ageing' ingredients derived from Pantene hair and Olay skincare products, among others, P&G has developed two new variants of its Tide and Downy laundry brands, their launch backed by a $60 million (€40.93m; £32.63m) marketing campaign.

Intended to wean consumers from their increasing seduction by lower-priced private-label brands, the Cincinnati giant claims 'anti-ageing' properties for its new Total Care laundry range, hyping it as a cost-cutter that enables clothes to be worn more often and dry-cleaning bills reduced.

Rah-rahs vp for fabric care Alex Tosolini: "We are trying to drive some value. Clothes … look good longer." To this end he has recruited such fashion icons as Tim Gunn of reality TV's Project Runway to the launch campaign, plus other voguish gurus such as Jorge Ramon, June Ambrose and Charla Krupp.

  • From elsewhere within the P&G redoubt, vp for new business development Gary Coombe is plowing a parallel furrow with a pilot scheme for three dry-cleaning outlets in the Kansas City area. "We're going to bring that expertise to bear," he says.

    Branded Tide Dry Cleaners, the outlets are slated to open in September. "This is very much a test," Coombe stresses, while adding that P&G sees opportunities in the estimated $9 billion-a-year industry because of its laundry and fabric-care experience.

    Moreover, research suggests that a majority of dry-cleaning customers aren't satisfied with their present suppliers. "We think our service can be a step above what consumers enjoy today in the industry."

  • Data sourced from USA Today; additional content by WARC staff