This past summer came a stunning announcement:
Floating an Idea: Would P&G Sell Ivory Soap?
As Company Pares Brands, an Icon's Status is Weighed Against Sinking Sales—The Wall Street Journal
I grew up with Ivory soap.
Throughout my life, I would try different brands—often with negative reactions. Whereupon, I went back to Ivory.
Ditching Ivory would be like General Motors trashing Chevy!
Launched in 1879 by James Gamble, son of the founder, the soap has two memorable unique selling propositions (USPs), making it different from its competitors.
None of the slick, feel-good creative crap—such as "mmm-mmm good" or "The pause that refreshes" that could apply to anything.
Ivory's USPs etch specific benefits into the brain:
- It floats.
- 99-44/100 percent pure.
"Specifics sell," said copywriter Andrew J. Byrne. "Generalities don't."
Procter & Gamble made a fortune with the slogan for the specific purity of its Ivory soap. Not "very" pure. Not "oh-so-pure."
"99 and 44/100% pure."
Specifics are fun and actionable.
You come away with something to drop at dinner parties or sprinkle in memos and reports to dazzle your colleagues and management.
Generalities lie on the page like a lox.
I have never before lusted to be a brand manager.
In the case of Ivory soap, give me the manufacturing plant and a decent advertising budget.
I would make this grand old lady fly like an eagle again—Big Time!
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