Updated: Jan 16, 2019
In a recent post, I rhetorically asked "What's wrong with Pampers?" after seeing a new line of premium Pampers Pure diapers in a store right next to the line of standard Pampers.
It seems the problem isn't limited solely to diapers, it's also wipes.
Not to be outdone, the Huggies crew has its own wipe branding issue:
So both Pampers and Huggies each have a brand of standard wipes, and right next to each SKU is a "premium" version of the same brand. The claims on both premium boxes make me think that there is something wrong with the regular brands, like maybe the regular brands, which have been established leaders for decades, really just aren't all that good after all.
Are the Pampers Pure taking sales from Huggies? Probably not. More than likely the majority of Pampers Pure sales come from customers already buying the regular Pampers brand anyway.
And the same goers for the Huggies Natural Care. Are their sales coming from Pampers wipes? Probably not. Most likely they are coming from the regular Huggies brand. Is it any wonder the regular brand is on sale?
When Huggies Natural Care touts "pure and gentle," what does a consumer think about the regular Huggies right by its side? They aren't gentle? Why would I buy them for my baby? It would make me think the regular brand has something wrong with it. Pampers isn't damaging the Huggies brand, Huggies itself is.
So instead of one baby wipe SKU with a strong brand, each company is now producing two SKUs, while both companies are spending countless millions of dollars in marketing and advertising, all while damaging their own original brand names and taking market share from themselves. The old U2 song "Running to Stand Still" comes to mind.
Pampers and Huggies may be right in thinking that there is consumer demand for a premium baby wipe. Their mistake is in milking the brand equity of their regular lines to try and capture that market. They are damaging themselves and diminishing their own brand equity.
The first company to create a new non-Pampers/non-Huggies premium wipe brand has the opportunity to own the premium end of the baby wipe market.