P&G, Kimberly-Clark both directing new sustainability campaigns

CINCINNATI: Procter & Gamble has announced the launch of its largest ever program aimed at educating US consumers about sustainable consumer packaged goods products.

CINCINNATI: Procter & Gamble has announced the launch of its largest ever program aimed at educating US consumers about sustainable consumer packaged goods products.

Called “Future Friendly,” the program aims to help P&G meet its previously announced goal of $50 billion in cumulative sales of sustainable products by 2012. Future Friendly will target US consumers leading up to Earth Day 2010, through an extensive campaign that will include in-store advertising, digital and PR, said Glenn Williams, P&G's external relations manager, US market strategy and scale.

“We want to establish the idea among consumers that being sustainable and conserving resources is something that doesn't require all that much sacrifice. They can do that with brands they already know, just by using them in the right way,” said Williams. “In the eco niche, people who are dark green, they gravitate to green products that a lot of our competitors and smaller brands have, and that is fine because they play an important role in serving that niche. But for mainstream consumers for whom green is an important consideration but not the primary one, they are very confused and don't know what to do. We think our brands bring clarity to that issue.”

P&G defines a sustainable product as one that saves 10% in water and/or energy use (either in its manufacturing, or use by consumers), or a 10% reduction in packaging. It has already identified some existing brands that will be featured as part of the Future Friendly initiative, including Tide Coldwater and Cascade Complete, which it says save on both energy and water use. “There will be new messaging on how to use these existing products,” Williams said. P&G will also introduce new products, including a Pampers slim diaper that is about 20% thinner.

The Los Angeles office of Paine PR is working with P&G on Future Friendly. P&G is also planning to execute an internal communications effort. “We're currently in conversations with some external partners to help with the educational effort,” Williams told PRWeek.

The Future Friendly program has previously launched in both Canada and the UK, as more of an in-store program. “The US version will be more of a holistic program, with a heavy educational component behind it,” said Williams. ”US consumers are generally not as environmentally aware. “

P&G isn't the only consumer packaged goods company that recently announced a green initiative. Kimberly-Clark introduced the first global campaign for its Professional division, which provides washroom products to commercial and institutional facilities. The communications campaign, called “Reduce Today, Respect Tomorrow,” launched October 7 and focuses on reducing environmental impact at every stage of a product's lifecycle, from the engery used during manufacturing to the actual use of the product. The program launched at the International Sanitary Supply Association/Interclean trade show in Chicago.

Doug Sutton, director of global marketing for Kimberly-Clark Professional, said too many people think recycled fiber content is the main measure of environmental stewardship in this category. “Our whole intent is to not disparage recycling because it is the responsible thing to do, but we know through research, studies and science that recycling is just a small part of the total equation.”

PR efforts so far include promoting the program through The Link, an electronic newsletter e-mailed to more than 51,000 clients. Kimberly-Clark Professional will also have a presence at the Greenbuild conference and expo in Phoenix November 11-13, where the plan is to reach out to trade press. In early 2010, the campaign will expand to include print, direct mail and banner advertising through the London office of McCann Erickson.

Kapnek Communications is helping Kimberly-Clark with the PR.

Updated October 13, 2009 12:58pm

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