OMAHA, Neb. -- The fierce share battle raging between Procter & Gamble and Lever laundry detergent brands helped push supermarket print advertising of the category ahead during the third quarter of 1993.
Nearly every top detergent brand joined in the fray, collectively inducing the top 50 supermarket chains to boost their co-op print advertising by 21.2% compared with the equivalent period a year earlier.
The five most heavily supported brands, however, averaged an increase of 29%, led by a major push from Lever's Surf, which gained 67% in the period, and P&G's No. 1 Tide, which kept the pressure on with a 37% surge.
Lever's Wisk gained 21%, the industry average. P&G's Cheer and Church & Dwight's Arm & Hammer each gained as well, but at below average rates.
All but one brand tracked enjoyed increased retailer advertising during the July-to-September period of 1993 compared with a year earlier, according to data from Ad Activity Marketing Services here, obtained exclusively by Brand Marketing.
The Ad Activity report follows the activities in 37 major product categories by the nation's 50 largest supermarket chains across 24 major U.S. markets. The data are compiled by monitoring supermarkets' newspaper and direct mail advertising.
Ad Activity data showed that among the 10 most active supermarket chains in terms of total detergent ads, counts grew at a 34.6% rate, well ahead of the industry average.
Laundry detergent advertising is clearly a high priority among New York-area supermarkets. The report put three New York chains -- Pathmark, Waldbaum's and A&P -- among the top four in total ad activity. A fourth New York chain, Grand Union, also made the top 10.
Meanwhile, Ad Activity data for the Dallas-Fort Worth area of dominant influence showed how retailer priorities may vary within the same market. Albertson's boosted its laundry detergent advertising by 157%, while competitor Tom Thumb reduced its activity in this area by 71.2% in the same three-month period.
Not a Gentle Cycle:
Intense rivalry between P&G and Lever brands fueled across-the-board growth in laundry detergent advertising in the top 50 food chains.