Lets change the pace a little bit and talked about some of the successful marketing campaigns out there. I am starting a new blog series called “Product Analysis” where I will write about a company’s successful product in the consumer market today and analyze how their goal and direction led this product to become a success.

Recently I was in the process of taking the sheets off my bed and thought that it was about that time to clean and refresh my mattress. Normally this process takes a bit of time to complete but I was in a hurry and decided to grab a quick solution and come back to deep cleaning my mattress another day. Subconsciously I grabbed a bottle of Febreze and stared to use it on my mattress, during this time I realized that what if Febreze really doesn’t work and all I am doing it spraying perfume on my mattress. Does it really “eliminate” the odors or is that a carefully articulated lie the company used to market their product.

How Febreze works is that it’s active ingredient beta-cyclodextrin binds with odor molecules stopping their smell from reaching your nose. In other words the beta-cyclodextrin acts like a jail cell and traps the odor molecules inside lowering the concentration of odor molecules as the solution dries. With multiple “odor eliminating” products on the market, how did Febreze position themselves to be a leader in this market?

When Procter & Gamble came out with a colorless, cheap to produce liquid spray in 1996 their marketing was far from perfect. P&G’s marketed Febreze as a way to remove odors from peoples homes but their campaign failed and their sales plummeted. The company decided to investigate why people were not buying their product. They went into people’s homes and also watched videos on consumers cleaning their house and where their product could fit into this routine. At one point the marketers even entered a well organized home inhabited by multiple cats. To them the home smelled terrible but to the cat lover her home smelled fine. She became desensitized by the smell or “nose blind” to the fact that her cats did cause odor.

Febreze marketers discovered that they needed to position themselves as being apart of the existing cleaning routine rather than creating a new chore for their customers. They marketed Febreze as a “reward” for a clean room focusing their advertisement on freshly cleaned rooms and open breezy windows giving the sense of a freshly cleaned house. Febreze focused on positioning itself as a “reward” after cleaning a room. It became a teat and something to look forward to rather than an extra chore for their customers. Their new campaign was a success for Febreze and now the company brings in over $1 billion in sales each year.

P&G has since taken this model and adapted it to roll with the times. One notable campaign was the “Breathe Happy” campaign where Febreze would lead blindfolded test subjects into a room that looked horrible and bad smelling. The subjects were completely oblivious to their surrounding but thanks to the power of Febreze they couldn’t smell anything horrible.

The success of Febreze’s is linked to their ability to recognize a problem and fix it. Through perseverance and research the company has positioned itself in a unique way that made it a quality product people want to buy for their homes. When I think of Febreze I picture clean rooms, freshness and no odors. The exact message they wanted to convey to their audience. Is Febreze the best odor-eliminating product? Maybe not but the company is the leader in the market and their brand image remains fresh and clean.