There are many products that we recognise immediately – when we think of fly sprays we think of Mortein. When we think of furniture polishes it’s Mr Sheen.
And when we think of window cleaners it’s Windex. At least it used to be – now it’s Mr Muscle:
Now, as it happens, Mr Muscle and Windex are both SC Johnson products, and have been for years. Most people probably weren’t aware of this, but there are a lot of products that are made by the same company – Mortein and Pea-BeU, Dynamo and Cold Power, and so on.
The reason that this information is hidden in the fine print is that they want to conceal from consumers the truly limited range of choices that there are – that when you are choosing between OMO and Surf all the money is still going back to Unilever, and the choice between the two is all about what marketing claims will capture your interest.
It is therefore odd, to say the least, to see two brands on the same packaging. It gets across the idea that the Windex name itself doesn’t carry enough clout, and it needs the Mr Muscle branding to convince people to buy it – you know, as though someone walks into the supermarket looking for a window cleaner and sees Windex and says “Windex – never heard of it. Oh wait – it’s a Mr muscle product. It must be good.”
If this scenario strikes you as odd I would agree with you. I suspect what’s happened here is that this is a decision that has been made overseas (perhaps due to falling Windex sales) as is beginning to happen more these days. Overseas, Mr Muscle is a bigger brand than it is here. The main reason is that Reckitts Benckiser don’t have anywhere near as great a presence in the US as they do here and in the UK.
Consequently, in Australia, Windex is far more known than Mr Muscle. So I think it’s a marketing mistake that will hurt their sales. The other reason I think this is that Mr Muscle is generally associated in most people’s minds with heavy duty cleaning – ovens and so on, and they might not want to put heavy duty cleaning chemicals onto glass.
Part of this perception may be the idea that the formula of Windex has changed, and it now contains these harsh chemicals.
So I think that SC Johnson have made a mistake here, and a very odd one at that.