RB restores lustre to dulled FMCG careers

RBReckitt Benckiser is demonstrating its customary approach to risk and innovation with an ambitious corporate marketing communications campaign.

RB has long outperformed its rivals in what to the uninitiated is the dull household sector. With the aid of a clutch of power brands such as Vanish, Cillit Bang, Finish, Nurofen and Clearasil, it regularly bests them on organic growth and profit margins, facts not unnoticed in the City. Not only that, it is virtually the only packaged goods company which continues to beat supermarket own-labels at their own game, proving the consumer will pay a premium for branded goods as long as they are a) better and b) better marketed.

While the RB success story is well rehearsed in the marketing and investment communities it is, I would guess, almost unknown to consumers, who buy solely on the strength of individually marketed products. In this, RB has been missing a trick. And the surprise is, missing it for a long time, considering the trail blazed by the likes of Cadbury or Unilever.

AndraeaThe new global campaign, which is being masterminded by corporate affairs director Andraea Dawson-Shepherd (herself a recruit from Cadbury), sets out to remedy this deficiency in the wake of RB’s corporate rebrand last spring. Handled by Euro RSCG, it is weighted towards building awareness among 22-32 year olds, via social media. But it aims to do a lot more besides.

“Our power brands are already well known,” says Dawson-Shepherd. “We need to make ourselves better known among the next generation of people considering a career in consumer goods and let them know what the company has to offer.” Noting that financial services isn’t the magnet it used to be for ambitious marketers, she hopes to restore the dulled colours of a career in FMCG.

Lateral thinking in the middle of a recession. Size of communications budget almost no object. Now there’s a thing.


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