The Campaign Strategy for Close Up Toothpaste Introduction: The Unilever group is responsible for the creation and maintenance of thirteen successful global brands. Close Up is one of two oral health care brands under the Unilever umbrella, and is fairly unknown in the U.S. market and comparatively lacking marketing support. The American company that owns the licensing rights to Close Up, Church & Dwight Co., also leads the way in marketing some of the bigger name brands. The oral health care market in the United States is saturated with many household brands such as Crest and Colgate, and entry for Close Up will require prodigious strategy and an increase in marketing dollars. Close Up’s brand identity plays the fundamental human need for closeness. Reaching out the LGBT market in advertising and communication is becoming a new business trend, and Close Up could concentrate on this niche market in order to gain more brand recognition in the United States. By speaking with this often-overlooked market opportunity, Close Up can extend the brand message of gaining the confidence to get closer to the LGBT community. In turn, the LGBT community will be brand ambassadors of Close Up in the United States. Problem: Close Up is up against a huge challenge in the oral care market. First, the Oral healthcare is a well-developed category, and the toothpaste market is the biggest segment of the Oral care category. This toothpaste submarket is also saturated, especially in the U.S. market with limited market growth of 2% per year (Toothpaste industry market report). Secondly, in this competitive market, Close Up is far left behind by many other top of mind brands in the category. The top two leading brands
Colgate and Crest almost shared 60% of the market together, while Close Up only has 1.6% market share. The Unilever Group has been running a unique global partnership with the FDI (World Dental Federation) since 2005 to push the market growth by reinforcing the importance of oral care all over the world. Yet even with this alliance, the “Live, Learn, Laugh” campaign did not form a big impact on the mature U.S. market, especially for the brand. As Close Up is not the leading brand of the market, the previous strategy aimed at increasing the general market size might be not beneficial to the brand. A new campaign strategy that targets a niche market is needed in order to deal with the problem in the U.S. market. Situational Analysis Organizational Analysis Close-Up is a toothpaste brand owned by the international conglomerate, Unilever. Unilever has brands in the food, personal care, and home markets that reach over 2 billion people every day in 170 countries. Their vision states: “We will develop new ways of doing business with the aim of doubling the size of our company while reducing our environmental impact.” They have 163,000 employees, and 20 nationalities are represented among their top tier managers. Unilever is committed to improving quality of life with their products and recognize their duty to be socially responsible (www.unilever.com). In 2003, Church & Dwight Co., Inc acquired the exclusive licensing rights to Close-Up for the United States and Canada. They are the leading producers of baking soda in the U.S. and their Arm and Hammer brand is trusted trademark for consumer and specialty products (www.chruchanddwight.com). Church & Dwight Co., Inc.’s product mix consists of its core brand, Arm and Hammer, household deodorizers, household cleaners, oral care products, laundry
products, pet care products, personal care products, and deodorant and antiperspirants. With their core brand, and their acquired brands (one being Close Up), Church & Dwight Co., Inc. is one of the United States’ leading consumer packaged goods companies (www.chruchanddwight.com).
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