Procter & Gamble’s popular Tide brand is aggressively targeting today’s urban Millennial and Gen Z consumers, with the national expansion of its pickup-and-delivery laundry service.
Tide plans to double its pickup locations to more than 2,000 by next year, after having run its wash-dry-and-fold service in recent years in Chicago, Washington, Nashville, Dallas, Philadelphia and Denver. The expansion will including adding services to new cities, as well as expanding the number of drop-off locations in existing ones, according to Sundar Raman, vice president of P&G North American Fabric Care, in an interview with AdAge.
Drop-off locations include Tide Dry Cleaners stores, apartment buildings, and lockers in retail stores and other locations. Tide Cleaners also encompasses Tide University operations on several U.S. campuses.
P&G first launched a test of its Tide Spin laundry service in Chicago in late 2015 with its own custom mobile app, then acquired rival Chicago-based service Pressbox last year. It now uses the latter’s app as the mobile backbone for Tide Cleaners.
Saatchi & Saatchi has created a video to back the national rollout with the tagline: “Life, Not Laundry.” But Tide Cleaners marketing will be a largely local, guerilla affair leaning heavily on direct mail, e-mail, digital, posters, or showing up with drop lockers in grocery stores and other places to get the word out. The focus is on “performance marketing,” Raman explained.
“Now, for the first time, Tide will have a name and face for people interacting with the brand, not just a bottle on the Walmart shelf,” Raman said,
Digital automation – with bar-coded laundry bags and identifying chips in dryclean-only garments, and an app that lets people track laundry throughout the process – is another hallmark of Tide Cleaners.
The national rollout marks a full embrace of a service model P&G has experimented with for years, starting with an Atlanta test of Juvian concierge laundry service in 2000. Many of Tide’s 140 drycleaners (up more than fourfold in three years and from 100 just since October) offer wash-and-fold laundry service, too.
Tide Dry Cleaners are about 75 percent to 80 percent franchisee-operated, but wash-and-fold service is almost all corporate-owned for now; however, Raman noted that Tide is talking to franchisees about taking charge in some markets.
“It’s critical we go for this because it’s a natural extension of the brand,” Raman pointed out. “The time people spend on chores is decreasing, and there’s less and less consumption happening at home. The market for out-of-home laundry is just as big as for in-home, and growing faster.”
Tide is already the third-largest laundry service brand in the U.S., Raman explained, with more than 20,000 drycleaners alone. In terms of wash-and-fold service that directly replace at-home laundry, Raman noted, “This market is just barely starting up.”
The time is right, he said, because more Millennials and Gen Z’ers are opting for urban living in apartments that often don’t have washer/dryer hookups, or where trips to the laundry room are inconvenient.
Tide Cleaners isn’t necessarily a low-cost option. Depending on the monthly plan, prices range from $1.24 to $1.59 per pound for wash-dry-fold service in Chicago.