P&G To Market Water Kit Used In Developing Nations To Americans

Procter & Gamble is preparing to launch a new product under the umbrella of its PUR line of water filtration products. But the new sku isn't a filter. Rather, it's a product more suitable for making water potable in countries where it is a luxury--and one that will help water-challenged Americans as well.

Since 2003, P&G has provided the powdered water clarifier and disinfectant to humanitarian groups working in the developing world as part of its Children's Safe Drinking Water program. The product will be marketed as PUR in the U.S. by Winnipeg, Ontario-based Reliance Products LP.

It will retail later this year in a kit containing packets with a mixing-container kit and other tools. Reliance will market the kit--which will bear the P&G PUR label--for outdoor recreation, travel, education and emergency preparedness use, per Greg Allwood, director of Children's Safe Drinking Water, who says P&G will not make any money from sales of the product, but will funnel it to the Children's Safe program. The company says it also gives a percentage of sales of every PUR filtration product to the effort.



"What makes this unique is that it's a program that started with humanitarian efforts in developing countries," he says, "not the other way around."

Allgood says any profits to P&G from sales of the packets in the United States will be used to support efforts to provide the PUR packets in the developing world.

He says the idea to market in the U.S. came post-Katrina. "We began getting a lot of e-mails and phone calls every day," asking about when the product would be introduced in the U.S.

Scott Mitchell, principal of Brainerd, Minn.-based Adventure Creative, which is handling advertising and marketing duties for Reliance, says the four target consumers are "preparedness" buyers, people living in hurricane-prone areas, who don't want to have to store and rotate water every month or so; outdoor enthusiasts who want to include water purification as part of their gear for activities like camping or canoeing; travelers who want to be able to purify their water; and teachers who use the PUR chemical for demonstrations.

Mitchell says marketing efforts will launch in the fourth quarter through late spring 2008, with print ads in vertical pubs like Backpacker and other campaign publications and in the general market for household buyers, with potential TV advertising on The Weather Channel.

Reliance will launch a P&G-branded site in August focused both on product demonstration through online videos as well as content and links about the use of the PUR water purification product in different countries for humanitarian purposes.

Mitchell says that while creative is pending approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, marketing communications will discuss the role of the program in funding P&G's efforts in developing nations.

"It will be definitely be part of the message as much as it can be, working through the EPA guidelines."

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