P&G's Bounty promotes messes in new art studio

GLENVIEW, Ill., Sept 22 Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:40pm EDT

GLENVIEW, Ill., Sept 22 (Reuters) - Bounty, the paper towel touted to quickly pick up messes and spills, wants children to make more of them.

Make-A-Messterpiece, a creative arts studio, opens this week under the sponsorship of the Procter & Gamble Co (PG.N) brand. The studio is the first of possibly hundreds of facilities that would allow Bounty to test new experiential marketing and support its advertising campaign that encourages simple, if messy, pleasures like sleepover parties.

While P&G doesn't own the 15,000 square foot studio in an upscale shopping district north of Chicago, the household goods manufacturer collaborated on planning and the Bounty logo and products are prominently featured.

"Chicago is one of our key markets and we thought that it would make a great place to start," said Eric Higgs, Bounty's brand manager.

The studio in Glenview, Illinois, just steps from a children's museum and kids' clothing stores, follows P&G's moves into the retail arena, such as its franchised Mr. Clean car washes and purchase of The Art of Shaving, which came with 36 U.S. stores.

P&G's investment in Make-A-Messterpiece was not disclosed.

But Raj Pudipeddi, marketing director for Bounty, called the sum "a very healthy share" of marketing spending for the brand, which is growing from previous years.

P&G already spends more on advertising than any other company in the world and is driving marketing support behind major brands after net sales fell in the latest fiscal year.

The art studio is the brainchild of Ryan FitzSimons, founder and chief executive of Gigunda Group Inc, which specializes in experiential marketing. He linked up with Bounty after working on P&G campaigns including the free Charmin restrooms open during the winter in New York's Times Square.

FitzSimons envisions having hundreds of art studios one day.

Bounty's sponsorship is initially for 60-days. Pudipeddi said we will "evaluate whether we move forward and how we move forward."

Bounty is already the clear leader in the U.S. paper towel business, with 41.9 percent of the nearly $3.92 billion in sales in 2008. Its growth outpaced the overall category, according to data from Euromonitor International.

Still, Bounty, Georgia-Pacific's [KCHINP.UL] Brawny and Kimberly-Clark (KMB.N) Viva and others face fresh competition as some consumers opt for lower priced store brands or wipe up spills with washable dish towels as they cut back on spending.

(Reporting by Jessica Wohl; Editing by Richard Chang)

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