Brand expert view – Fairy

From its origins as a humble bar of soap in 1898, Fairy has built on its sound principles of cleaning and caring to become the firm market leader, the nation’s favourite washing up liquid, the brand that families (both mums and dads these days of course) have grown up with and trust.

Consistent messaging has helped – combining efficacious cleaning while being kind to hands and body, backed up by value for money. So too have the years of being passed down from generation to generation, supported by iconic TV advertising, and in more recent times a move towards sustainability initiatives with ‘Fairycology’.

Still the dominant player in washing up liquid, Fairy has cleverly diversified over the years and is now a serious contender in other fabric and home care markets too. This will have kept the brand growing and relevant, but there has also been a noticeable shift in the approach to communications that suggests the brand is moving with the times, actively listening to its family consumers and evolving accordingly.

The advertising has always been simple yet emotive, highlighting performance through longevity and cleaning messages. But now we’re seeing inspiring, yet relatable and relevant, celebrity parents featured (not just mum/daughter) to drive emotional connections with the new mums and dads of today. #ToMyBaby is a lovely integrated campaign built on a simple, universal desire parents have for their children’s wellbeing in these more complex times. The campaign also connects to a relevant cause, Great Ormond Street Hospital, which reflects the growing need for young consumers particularly to tangibly see that a brand they buy is behaving responsibly and cares about the same things they do.

And it is connecting to the younger, new consumer that is perhaps Fairy’s biggest challenge going forwards – the brand didn’t appear in the top 50 last year with 18-34s (whereas it nearly made the top 20 with over 35s). Neither did it feature in the top 20 most socially responsible brands. We are Futures own recent research (with Opinium) supports this, highlighting that these younger, new consumers are much more likely than any previous generations to question and select brands based on authentic shared values of fairness and equality, transparency and sustainability.

Fairy has made a great start though, with the rebranding of Fairy to ‘Fair’, in partnership with akt (the LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity working within the family unit) and the creation of the Fairy Beach Plastic bottle (made from 100% recycled plastic and ocean plastic) to help clean up UK coastlines, both demonstrating the brand’s desire to promote positive change.

So, while other brands will continue to challenge, Fairy is aware, listening, and responding well. In the context of coronavirus, its combination of cleanliness and kindness will be very relevant going forwards too. All pointing to a brand that is as relevant today as it was yesterday – and will no doubt continue to create a sparkle for years to come.

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