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Building a brand in a market dominated by major brands

The Market

In 2004, our client was a small company started by an entrepreneur who had a desire to build a big brand around an oven-cleaning product. Given this was a category dominated exclusively by two major brands, Mr Muscle and Cif, this may have been perceived as wishful thinking.

Our Client’s Objectives

Our client brought in private investors to fund his growth and whilst he had it stocked in a few Tesco stores, sales were not growing at the level required to sustain the listing. One of the private investors suggested he approach MARKETING INITIATIVES to help with sales and marketing. His key objective was to establish more listings and gain greater distribution in order to increase volume – which in turn would enable him to drive down costs and make the whole venture profitable.

What We Did

Having reformulated the sales and Marketing strategy, we began to approach the retailers with a revised marketing plan. By the end of 2005, our clients’ product was listed in all the major multiples and was the No. 2 brand in the category behind Mr Muscle.  An unique Kitchen cleaner had also been launched with the support of a low budget TV advertising campaign and was also listed in all major retailers. At the start of 2006, the company decided to recruit its own Sales and Marketing Director and we parted on good terms leaving the company in good health.

In early 2009 our client contacted us again and asked if we would return to run the Sales and Marketing operation. The company was still profitable and the Oven Cleaning brand was still number 2 but they realised a different approach was needed to move forward. A new and somewhat controversial, but subsequently highly successful, TV advert was developed and a new promotional campaign was instigated. By the end of 2009 sales were up 40% year on year.

The Results

In December 2009, the company was bought by one of Europe’s leading provider of Private Label Household and Personal Care products, with an annual turnover around £800m.  The Group does have a few brands of its own, but none that offered dynamic growth or had the potential to dominate a category. Moreover, whilst they had a large and very professional account team, they recognised that the Oven brand needed to be handled differently to the rest of the product portfolio if it was to continue to grow and become even more successful. For this reason Marketing Initiatives was asked to continue to run the sales for the brand along side a dedicated Group Marketing team. In 2010, sales were again up 40% year on year and whilst like-for-like sales have slowed in 2011, the growth has still been 36% year on year and the brand is no now No. 1 in the category.

In 2011 we extended the brand into the BBQ sector with a BBQ version of the Oven cleaner. The rationale is that the Oven cleaner is stocked in the household cleaning aisle, and is bought primarily by women and effectively only sells in significant quantity during the period of September to April, whereas the BBQ Cleaner is stocked in the seasonal area from April to September, and is bought primarily by men. The product was listed in most of the major retailers where it sold well and has been relisted for 2012.


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