Wednesday, November 14, 2007

P&G Urges College Students to "Rewear" for Earth's sake

The brand that brought America the "washday miracle" is experimenting with a new mission: marketing to the great unwashed masses at the country's biggest university.

Do college students really need Procter & Gamble Co.'s iconic brand - Tide - to tell them it's OK to rewear their clothes between washes? Trust me. I have a son in college myself. Swash by Tide, a sort of megabrand for laundry slackers, has set up a pop-up store just off the Ohio State University's campus on High Street in Columbus, close enough to Ohio State's fraternity row for visitors to practically smell the dirty laundry.

Swash is offering students dryer sheets, dewrinkling spray, stain-removing pens, odor-removing sprays and lint rollers that can help give their clothes the look and smell of having been washed without the trouble or expense of actual washing. In the process, the brand's helping eliminate the one domestic chore most college students do.

The products aren't actually new, but along the lines of P&G's "commercial innovation" movement under Chairman-CEO A.G. Lafley, they're old offerings cleverly repositioned to fit the lifestyle of multi-slackers -- students juggling the demands of not doing their laundry, not finishing their homework and not cleaning their rooms.

Since college students will buy just about anything anyway, I'm sure Swash will be successful. I'm not so sure that all those sprays, rollers and pens can take the place of actually doing the wash. And I'm not so sure I'd like to sit next to these "rewearers" in a stuffy classroom either.

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