Swedish toilet roll producer SCA is ploughing £5m into its Velvet brand in the first quarter of this year to try and close the gap on market leader Andrex.

The company is pushing its environmental credentials in an attempt to give it a point of difference in the own-label and Andrex-dominated market. It is using new packaging, TV advertising and a PR campaign to promote its Three Trees scheme, where for every tree SCA uses it replants three.

The initiative will be communicated on packs of both Triple and Quilted Velvet, which have been redesigned to feature the Three Trees and Forest Stewardship Council logos. The Velvet logo has also been tweaked to give the brand fresh appeal.

“During economic uncertainty, we understand consumers are driven by product value and quality,” said UK marketing director Chris Bartlett. “However, even in tough times, consumers are still highly motivated by a brand that is environmentally conscious and this is the ground we hope to fill. This initiative will deliver greater brand loyalty and frequency of purchase.”

The move will be supported with a new TV ad, in which the brand’s Baby MD advertising character will venture out of the boardroom for the first time and into the forest to explain the Three Trees message to consumers.

The Velvet brand grew 0.7% to £104.2m last year [Nielsen MAT w/e 4 October 2008] and was the only brand in the top five to post any growth. Market leader Andrex fell 0.3%, but at £337.3m is still three times the size of Velvet, its nearest rival.