Lever to axe Radion as it raises Surf adspend

Radion, the UK’s seventh-biggest laundry detergent brand, has been culled by Lever Brothers following a review which sees sister brand Surf promoted to power brand status.

Radion, the UK’s seventh-biggest laundry detergent brand, has been

culled by Lever Brothers following a review which sees sister brand Surf

promoted to power brand status.



The move will result in a significant increase in marketing for the Surf

brand, which is left as one of two laundry brands at Lever; the other is

market leader Persil.



’The resources devoted to Radion in terms of people, advertising and

investment will be moved to Surf, which is the fastest-growing brand in

the value based sector,’ said Helena Ganczakowski, Lever Brothers

marketing director.



Lever Brothers decision to drop Radion is part of a sweeping brand

consolidation by parent company Unilever.



In September, president of Unilever, Niall FitzGerald, said the company

aimed to slash about 75% of its brands - an estimated 600 products -

over the next five years in an effort to save money and hit growth

targets of 8%.



Ganczakowski said: ’The move supports Unilever’s strategy of focusing on

brands which give us the best return, but the decision to drop Radion

was made by Lever.’



Lever said it intends to increase the advertising spend behind Surf and

reposition the brand to appeal to Radion consumers by introducing a new

range with a stronger perfume.



Radion brand manager Patrick Kalotis will stay with Lever to work on the

Surf brand. The company said it would offer Surf promotions on Radion

packets to encourage consumers to switch.



Radion was launched in October 1989. The brand was supported by about

pounds 5.2m in adspend over the past five years and was the subject of a

series of innovative marketing campaigns, including the high-profile

scented bus tickets promotion in 1996.



Despite this investment, Radion has failed to perform as well as Lever’s

other laundry brands (see table).



Ganczakowski said that Lever had no plans to cull more brands in the

short-term. Radion advertising was handled by Ammirait Puris Lintas,

which also handles advertising for Surf.



MARKET SHARE OF LEVER’S BRANDS

Company                   1999       1998        1997

1 Persil                   26%        23%       20.1%

2 Surf                      6%       5.2%        4.4%

3 Radion                    2%       2.4%        2.3%

Source: Lever Brothers UK laundry market report



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