In 2010, Ronaldo Art was named product manager for Johnson & Johnson’s Listerine in Brazil. The product was already the leader in Brazil’s growing mouthwash market, and Art was tasked with leading category growth as the market itself expanded.
Listerine engaged a new demographic by introducing a sub-brand at a lower price point and distributing it in Brazil’s poorer areas. It also introduced an alcohol-free mouthwash, Listerine Zero, which had a milder taste and proved more appealing to those dentists who had been concerned about the alcohol-based formula. The brand offered a 21-day challenge, giving customers refunds if they weren’t satisfied with the product in 21 days. Later, Listerine introduced larger sizes, offering promotions with the bigger bottles to encourage long-term and more frequent use of the product. Additionally, the larger sizes served to boost the mouthwash’s in-store shelf position.
The brand focused on product innovation, consumer awareness, visibility at the point of sale, and targeted pricing and promotion. Marketing-mix tactics that brought market penetration and increased frequency of use were essential to Listerine’s long-term strategy in the expanding market.
The preceding is adapted from the article “Listerine’s Long Game in Brazil,” by Darden Professor Paul W. Farris and Leandro A. Guissoni, professor of marketing at Fundação Getulio Vargas in Brazil. The article appeared in the 21 August 2016 issue of The Washington Post as part of the Darden School of Business/Washington Post “Case in Point” series.
The article is based on the case Choosing the Right Metrics for Listerine Brand Management in Brazil (Darden Business Publishing), by Paul W. Farris, Leandro A. Guissoni and Olegário Araújo.