ROTTERDAM / VLAARDINGEN - The Netherlands is a war going on detergents. Manufacturer Proctor and Gamble this morning began with a brutal attack on rival Unilever, by claiming that the new agent Persil Power would ensure that there are gaps in washed clothes. Unilever says it is confident in its new product.

According to Proctor and Gamble, the problems are caused the new accellerator ', last month with great fanfare were introduced on the Dutch market. That means, the chemical element manganese, would even stubborn stains stains at low temperatures from the to wash clothes. It speeds up the washing, so the explanation was.

But the method, largely developed in the laboratory in Vlaardingen, is not safe, Proctor and Gamble proposes a statement.

"Our experience is that manganese technology used in detergents causes unusual damage to textiles."

(P statement&G, 27-04-1994)

The American group has the means in the past investigated, until it appeared that holes in the fabric after much washes.

Proctor and Gamble brings out warning, because they fear that bad experiences with Persil Power also affect their own brands, like Ariel, Dreft a Dash.

Foto: Pixabay


Unilever afternoon held a press conference to respond to the allegations made by the US competitor. "Stuff and nonsense", showed CEO William Selman Lever Netherlands know.

"Our lawyers are studying the possibility to address the allegations of Proctor legal means",

(Willem Selman, Volkskrant, 28-04-1994)

Two technicians of the development center, also at The press conference attended, stressed Persil Power is not harmful clothes.

The plea by consumers, laboratories and TNO tested. At the request of Proctor TNO, the agent will try to retest. That results come next month.


According to Unilever CEO Selman is the attack of a Proctor 'Way of street fighting that is not the style of his business'.

In the laundry world applies an unwritten rule that you says nothing about someone else's product. Unilever therefore withdrew last week a commercial back, because it was said that Persil Power was better than the competition.

A spokesman said earlier today that an attack on The new product was expected to be. "They are clearly concerned about us new product and now try confusion sow. "

Proctor and Gamble is the market leader in Europe when it comes to detergents. Persil Power was there to bring change.

is the agent for three years worked in the laboratory in Vlaardingen. Unilever has around 300 million guilders expended on the development of the agent. There once was a advertising campaign of half a billion guilders on top. worldwide concerns detergents for sales of such 20 billion guilders per year for Unilever.

Hoe ging het verder?

The warnings of Proctor & Gamble proved right. From new TNO study showed that went after frequent washing with Persil Power garment.

It appears that if the product is used at high termperaturen, that indeed may damage, even if it means designed for lower temperatures.

stepped Unilever, as announced, to court, but later withdrew that case yet again. The loss of the entire power Omo affair runs into the hundreds of millions.

Also the consumers TNO put to work and comes with a warning not to buy Persil Power.

To make matters even worse Proctor also early June spreads still TNO report accompanied by photos of the damaged garments, After washing with Persil Power. Besides appearing intact garments, washed in Ariel Ultra, the product of P&G.

Unilever fits plea, but in September TNO comes to the conclusion that there could still cause damage.

Persil Power then never returned. Pas in 2008 there is a new Omo market: Small and Powerful.

According to experts, the fault lay mainly in communications between the PR department of Unilever and the laboratory. There was not sufficiently brought out that the means for low temperatures was intended.


TVNZ – 30-03-1994 – Turbo powder is Unilever's advantage in detergents war

Leeuwarder Courant – 27-04-1994 – Competition leads to detergent compositions war

De Volkskrant – 28-04-1994 – Proctor cracks Unilever's Omo textile exterminator

Trouw – 28-04-1994 – detergents War: "Omo makes holes’

Nieuwsblad van het Noorden – 28-04-1994 – Dirty war in the detergents world

TVNZ – 25-06-1994 – De tragikomsiche soap opera van Omo Power alias Omo P.

Author: Dave Datema

published: 26 april 2019

story number: 142

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