Company: Unilever UK

Launch date: March 2005

The launch of Persil with Freshness of Comfort last year united two of the biggest brands in laundry - Persil and Comfort.

At the time of launch, Unilever UK, owner of both brands, predicted that the dual brand would reinvigorate the laundry category. However, looking at new figures, the brand appears to be struggling.

So far, Persil with Freshness of Comfort has clocked up sales of £63,700, having gained listings in 50% of all possible outlets.

Sales peaked at more than £11,000 in the four weeks to September 10, 2005, but have since plummeted to just more than £5,000 [ACNielsen 4 w/e March 25, 2006].

According to Mike Edwards, Somerfield's category buyer for laundry, the brand's 'failure' was threefold. "Firstly, it was too expensive and was trying to add a super-premium tier to the laundry price hierarchy.

"Secondly, I think people who like fabric conditioner like to add it to their wash separately so they can control the dosage.

"Finally, the product is essentially a two-in-one, which is primarily seen in the middle and lower end of the market strongly represented by Bold and Surf," said Edwards.

"This brand was not a success for us and we have now delisted it. Our larger format competitors continue to run it, but they have all dropped their retails since its launch."

Still, Unilever insists that the product has benefited the household and laundry detergent category. "Persil has helped grow the laundry category with Persil with Freshness of Comfort by offering consumers the opportunity to trade up into premium innovations, a move that has delivered significant value for retailers," a company spokesman said.

Fewer than 4% of ACNielsen's consumer panel have tried the product, with 13% of those impressed enough to return for a second purchase.

Persil with Freshness of Comfort hit shelves supported by a £4m marketing campaign.

Data: ACNielsen 11 periods or 4 w/e March 25, 2006, unless otherwise stated.