UNILEVER CLAIMS to have regained pole position in the UK household detergent market after four years in the shadow of Procter & Gamble. In the no-holds-barred ‘soap war’ of 1994 Lever Brothers’ market-leading Persil Power was toppled by Ariel following P&G’s remorseless exploitation of flaws in the Unilever brand. This was eventually withdrawn after it was shown to weaken fabrics and cause colours to fade. How-ever, since the recent launch of Persil Tablets, the tide has turned in favour of the Anglo-Dutch gi-ant. The new brand, aided by a multi-million pound ad campaign, has captured pole position with almost 10% of the UK market. According to market researcher IRI Infoscan, one in seven households have tried the product with almost half making a repeat purchase. P&G, which still leads the washing powder sector as a whole, is currently piloting Ariel discs in the Grimsby area.
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