P&G seeks to forge fashion ties for fabric care products

CINCINNATI, OH: Procter & Gamble continued its multimillion-dollar investment in aligning its Tide and Downy products with fashion, through a new partnership with Ann Taylor Loft.

CINCINNATI, OH: Procter & Gamble continued its multimillion-dollar investment in aligning its Tide and Downy products with fashion, through a new partnership with Ann Taylor Loft.

The effort includes a national tour, media outreach, and an interactive component at Ann Taylor stores. It is part of P&G's $60 million effort – with $10 million invested in PR – to link its new Total Care product lines from Tide and Downy with fashion, said Kash Shaikh, head of external relations for Fabric Care at P&G. Planning for the fashion tie-in began last spring, while the actual events launched in September. P&G emphasizes that the advanced qualities of the new products, which hit shelves in September, protect the “newness” of clothing.

“Finally we had a [fabric care] product that enabled us to push the boundaries and move into fashion,” Shaikh said. He noted that it approached Ann Taylor Loft, because the brand carries a similar psychographic, and 65% of its product is washable.

As the PR team looks for promotion intersections for Tide and Downy, the Ann Taylor tie-in focuses on Downy. The team tapped stylist Jorge Ramon as spokesman for its consumer tour that began September 25 at The Loft's Times Square location and continued on to stores in four markets, including Cincinnati on October 16. Tactics include calendar listings and radio, print, broadcast, and blogger outreach. It also launched DownyDesignTags.com, which has interactive features like personalized look books.

New P&G campaigns will focus on a “value story” of machine washing, said Rebecca Dickson, MD at DeVries, P&G's fabric care AOR.

Separate efforts for Tide have also tied into fashion. Tim Gunn of Project Runway and chief creative director at Liz Claiborne, was a spokesman for a number of Tide promotions. At a Style 360 runway event during Fashion Week, Tide tasked designers with creating washable runway looks.

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