Procter & Gamble (P&G) was poised to redefine the way Americans do laundry with the introduction of the first new laundry format in over 20-years – Tide Rapid Action Tablets.  A new-to-America laundry product, Tide Rapid Action Tablets effervesce immediately upon hitting the wash water, getting right to work cleaning clothes.  The debut of Tide Rapid Action Tablets would reinvent life in the laundry lane with convenient, pre-measured packages (2 tablets per load), with no muss or fuss when carrying clothes to the laundry room.


It was critical to underscore that Tide was the first-to-market with superior performance because Uniliver’s Wisk was gearing up for it’s own laundry tablet launch.  We also had to overcome the consumer apprehension that laundry tablets may not effectively dissolve in water and clean clothes.  In addition, at the same time as the Tide Rapid Action Tablets launch, we were in the process of picking finalists for the Tide’s Dirtiest Kids contest; putting us in competition with ourselves for the same media, in a very low interest category – laundry.



Educate consumers about benefits of Tide Rapid Action Tablets by visually demonstrating the effervescence and performance in a compelling way

Generate awareness of Tide Rapid Action Tablets in the absence of advertising

Drive media impressions reaching a cost per million of at or below traditional advertising delivery cost per million


Through a catchy campaign, “the only tablet fit to be Tide,” Fleishman-Hillard created and executed an aggressive national editorial outreach program designed to build awareness of a new approach to doing laundry with the “birth” of Tide Rapid Action Tablets. The centerpiece of our media plan was an eye-catching editorial deliverable in the form of a birth announcement and a b-roll package that visually “romanced” the look and performance of the new tablet.  



Consumers (adults 18-35)


To introduce Tide Rapid Action Tablets and a new laundry category, Fleishman-Hillard and P&G developed a b-roll package to be distributed on the day Tide Rapid Action Tablets would begin shipment nationally.  We shot “assembly” line footage of the tablets being put into wrappers and boxes at the plant in Canada.  It was important to capture Tide Tablets effervescing in film to show consumers that they really work.  In order to do this, we went to Cincinnati to shoot a demonstration of the tablets being dropped into a beaker and dissolving in water as well as footage of a consumer using the tablets in the laundry room.  We also included sound bites from Tide marketing executives discussing the excitement of creating an entirely new laundry category.  During the editing process, we included old black-and-white, cartoon commercials from the early years of Tide, chronicling the many years that Tide has led the laundry category with “firsts” and have been part of consumers’ lives.

To insure that short lead stories appeared when Tide Rapid Action Tablets hit the shelves, we created a national mailing in the form of a birth announcement, designed to stand out of the clutter of press materials that media receive in a given day.  Packaged in a bassinette, the birth announcement deliverable included a press kit, a box of product swaddled in a diaper, a rattle, a customized Hershey’s bar with a logo and the vital statistics of the product as well as a birth certificate from the Ohio Department of Fabric Care.  The package was boxed to protect the product’s integrity, wrapped in baby wrapping paper with orange and blue (Tide colors) ribbons and a tag with a stork that says, “A New Arrival.” 

Various versions of the birth announcement were sent to over 1,000 media outlets including national wires; men’s, women’s, parenting, regional and news weekly magazines; top 100 daily newspapers; newsrooms, daily and weekly newspapers and wires in top 18 Tide Rapid Action Tablets’ target markets.  The product launch press release was distributed via PR Newswire and InternetWire on September 18, 2000, the day of the shipment.

In order to reach consumers via another form of media, a radio news release was conducted that included a sound bite from a P&G marketing manager discussing the excitement of the birth of a new way to do laundry.  


The media “bubbled-up” over Tide Rapid Action Tablets.  To date the program has generated over 98.4 million impressions and with a competitive Wisk product soon to arrive on shelves, Tide Rapid Action Tablets media coverage continues to dominate.  Program results also show that media impressions registered a cost per million of $3.05, far exceeding the objective of at or below the traditional advertising delivery cost per million. In addition, after the first three months, P&G research indicates more than 25 percent awareness level among the target audience.

Broadcast TV coverage included over 125 airings including our “dissolution” footage demonstrating the effervescent action for more than 10 million television impressions.  Over 605 stations aired the radio news release generating over 4.9 million radio impressions.
More than 83.4 million impressions have been received from widespread wire, print and Internet outlets that included two placements in the USA Today.