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Turning the Tide on Laundry

May 2024

This is a self-funded case study using our Innovation Testing solution.

The laundry aisle is no stranger to innovation, with brands forever trying to stand out and differentiate themselves through releasing new scents, ingredients, and targeting different cleaning priorities (e.g. stains, brighteners). However, in such a ubiquitous category, it’s less often that we see truly groundbreaking innovation. At the end of the day, familiarity breeds contentment, and there isn’t a strong consumer desire to change something that seemingly works fine — especially when it comes to the product format. Enter Tide’s new “Evo” proposition, aiming to disrupt the status quo and transform the traditional laundry detergent pod into a never-before-seen 6-layer detergent tile.

Not only does Tide claim that it offers enhanced cleaning power (versus traditional alternatives), but the proposition is also deeply rooted in its positive eco-footprint — from its paper packaging to its cold wash, energy-saving advantages. This left people intrigued, finding the product’s focus on sustainability highly appealing. Along with the convenience offered by pre-measured tiles, the unique format brought a level of emotional appeal to a category that doesn’t typically elicit strong feelings.

Despite breaking both brand and category conventions with the product format and its paper housing, the simple but bold orange color foundation meant it was nevertheless unmistakably recognizable for Tide. More broadly, having established itself as the category leader (along with being known for its creativity and innovation in the laundry aisle), the groundbreaking tile format aligned with a brand known for pushing the boundaries. As a result, the product fitted well with Tide’s wider product portfolio.

This all helped ladder-up to strong perceptions of Tide Evo being environmentally friendly (a positioning that held relevance for people and left them feeling excited), with these eco-friendly associations neither overshadowing nor impeding the product’s perceived efficacy. While a small number of people weren’t fully convinced by some of the claims put forward, for most a level of trust existed given Tide’s backing, meaning there was a high level of confidence that the product would be able to clean clothes effectively.

Ultimately, the concept not only tapped into consumers’ functional jobs-to-be-done (that is, creating an even more convenient way to reliably clean every time), but it also went one step further and delivered on consumers’ ‘higher order’ needs (specifically, instilling a sense that by using the product you’re doing your little bit for the planet). This meant the Tide Evo proposition represented something meaningfully different to existing alternatives in the market, resulting in a strong likelihood of it being chosen at shelf — at a price deemed acceptable.

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