Will Unilever's bizarre new launch shake investor notions of its boring, old economy' image? Launching a domestic services company is the latest clever wheeze from Unilever. The company values the UK's home cleaning and laundry sector at £1.3bn and believes its myhome service has the potential to win a 20% share of that lucrative business. It's an ambitious target and if achieved myhome would generate higher sales than Unilever's Persil brand. On paper this initiative offers a number of benefits. First, Unilever can use the business as a new distribution channel for its cleaning products. And myhome will earn far better margins for Unilever than traditional packaged goods. But, as analysts point out, running a division of crack cleaning ladies is not the same as churning out boxes of laundry powder or tubs of margarine. And unlike those almost recession proof products, domestic cleaning services are affected by downturns in the economy. What they forget is that Unilever has already gained experience in the services sector through its fledgling Ch'a chain of tea shops. The obvious conclusion to be drawn from this week's news is that Unilever is prepared to stretch any of its brands in new and increasingly bizarre directions. And that's what is really clever about myhome, Ch'a and Unilever's investment in online initiatives such as Wowgo for teenage girls. What they do is help shake investor perceptions of Unilever as a boring, old economy company that is best avoided in favour of the sexy new dotcoms. The fragility of investor sentiment is reflected in Unilever's share price, which fell as low as 347.25p last week ­ compared with a high of well over £6. But when myhome was unveiled, the shares went back to 363.25p. A welcome step in the right direction. {{NEWS }}