CINCINNATI Feb 15 Procter & Gamble Co
regrets the long-delayed debut of its new Tide Pods
detergent and intends to introduce more new products and brands
that can shake up the market, its chief executive said on
CEO Bob McDonald would like to see the household and
personal-care products leader have more of what he calls
"discontinuous innovation," creating new categories, new brands
and new technology to use across the entire company, he told a
group of reporters at a P&G event in Cincinnati.
P&G is hailing Tide Pods as its biggest product innovation
of 2012, despite a variety of setbacks and limited marketing
support. Tide Pods -- a single-dose, dissolvable packet of
detergent, stain fighters and brighteners -- were expected on
store shelves in August 2011, but are just now appearing at
retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Although major advertising will not begin until later this
year, stores are receiving the product now, but without the
separate displays that typically accompany a launch in the
household products industry.
"While we do take responsibility" for the delay of Tide Pods
and "we regret it," the company introduces about 27 big, new
items each year, he said. "We want to do better, we will do
better, we didn't do as well as we would like on Pods."
Getting it right with Tide is important for P&G's
reputation. Tide was the company's first brand to surpass $1
billion in annual sales in the late 1980s and McDonald, CEO
since July 2009, and A.G. Lafley, his CEO predecessor, are among
the executives to have worked on the brand.
Analysts were surprised by the delay, as P&G is renowned for
spending $2 billion a year on research and development and more
than four times that amount on advertising.
"It is unclear what happened to the P&G that 'painted
purple' U.S. stores when it launched Prilosec," Consumer Edge
Research analyst Javier Escalante said, referring to that
product's distinct packaging.
BMO Capital Markets analyst Connie Maneaty trimmed her
fiscal 2012 profit expectations, including a reduction of 5
cents per share tied to the delay of the Tide Pods launch, even
before the company issued second-quarter results last month.
It is not the first time in recent memory that a P&G product
launch has had hiccups. There was the glitch in 2011 when
Gillette could not make enough Fusion ProGlide razors.
Tide Pods are priced at a premium to traditional powder
detergent, which may make it tough to entice shoppers. The
pricing is more on par with Tide liquid detergents that have
added benefits, such as Tide with Febreze, McDonald said.
While P&G delayed its product launch to get production
levels right, competitor Church & Dwight Co Inc is
already selling its Arm & Hammer Power Paks single-use laundry
The single-packet concept however, has yet to fully catch on
with consumers in the United States.