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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Combating Russia's Greasy Stains

The producer of Myth, the former Soviet Union's number-one laundry detergent, now produces the United States' best-selling laundry soap as well.

The Novomoskovskbytkhim chemical plant, which has manufactured Procter & Gamble's Ariel and Tix detergents for a year, began making Tide a few weeks ago, said Peter Smit, general manager for Procter & Gamble Russia.

At a gathering of potential distributors in Moscow on Thursday, Smit said his company will sell Tide using a combination of specially designed advertising and low prices.

He said that since the profusion of Western products now entering Russia can confuse uninitiated consumers, Procter & Gamble has tried to make its products stand out through television and print ads that show how they are used.

"The Russian consumer is not of the MTV generation," said Smit. "We need to explain to them in more detail what this product is for and how it works."

A researcher from Procter & Gamble's European technical center in Brussels told the gathering that he had led a study of 20,000 Russian households to seek the right formula for the Russian version of Tide.

According to the study, he said, Russian housewives wanted a detergent that doesn't require much scrubbing, that handles greasy stains well and that does not produce a lot of soap dust.

"Russian housewives really hate greasy stains," he said.

Vyacheslav Filipenko, deputy marketing director at Novomoskovskbytkhim, said his Western partner's marketing techniques could someday make Tide as popular in Russia as Myth.

Novomoskovskbytkhim produces about 7,000 tons of Myth a month, which sells for 800 rubles (51 cents) for a 750-gram box.

Procter & Gamble sales expert Tatyana Moiseyev said that Tide would be priced at an affordable level for 40 to 70 percent of the Russian population. A 650-gram box of Tide will initially cost 1,825 rubles, compared to 4,300 rubles for a 750-gram bag of Ariel, the firm's most expensive detergent in Russia.

Procter & Gamble bought a 14 percent stake in Novomoskovskbytkhim in November last year, and plans to invest $50 million over the next five years in return for a controlling stake in the plant.

Filipenko said that the foreign investment had made his company's prospects much better than those of most other recently privatized enterprises in Novomoskovsk.

"In our town there are many companies that have a very gloomy picture of their future," he said. "With Procter & Gamble we can at least expect to survive."