Cheaper Tide Rises in Hard Times

Procter & Gamble agonizes over risky move
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 6, 2009 1:03 PM CDT
A shopper grabs a box of Procter & Gamble Co. Tide detergent at Costco in Mountain View, Calif., Monday, April 13, 2009. Companies that make consumer staple products along with some health care firms...   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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(Newser) – A cheaper Tide is rolling in: The recession-friendly Tide Basic drops some of the high-tech cleaning components—like anti-pilling ability—contained in the detergent’s traditional form, in exchange for a 20% lower price tag, the Wall Street Journal reports. But the decision to release the new Tide was no easy one for Procter & Gamble, whose executives worry that a less-expensive version could hurt sales of the classic stuff.

Tide saw year-over-year sales drop last fall as it lost market share to private-label and cheaper detergents, helping prompt a few brave P&G executives to push for a less-pricey version. But “this product brings the enormous risk of tarnishing years of brand loyalty and emotional connections because shoppers start asking, 'Why have I been spending all this money all along?'"notes a marketing expert.