“Sanitary napkins is a relatively new business for P&G, but it already is an important business, and the future is bright.” Larry Dare to the Operations Committee, June, 1990.
Always began in test market in Minneapolis, Minnesota in January, 1983. At that time 3 pad types were introduced: maxi pads, mini pads, and pantiliners. The ongoing market share objective was 25%; by October/November Always had a 21.5% share; Year I was 18.9%. The target audience was women 12-49. Test market results indicated Always could achieve a 22.5% going share nationally.
Competition at the time was intense. Johnson & Johnson was the market leader. Competitive response included new products, line extensions, product improvements, and heavy competitive promotional spending. Always also spent very heavily at the time. Consumer awareness of the product was low; consumers who tried Always liked it, except for the size of the pad.
By 1984, Always was in national distribution. At the time there were 4 pad types: maxi pads, mini pads, thin mini pads and pantiliners. National expansion results were mixed: market share was 14.8% vs. the 16% objective. Key issues included in-market distribution and out of stock problems to meet the original 22.5% objective. Additionally, awareness among pad-using women was 82% compared to test market at 89%. Television advertising started 7/2/84 and samples were mailed including a coupon.
Always’ pricing objective was to maintain an average retail price equal to key competitors. This was the same as the test market strategy: to introduce Always at parity carload pricing (per carton and per pad) vs. J&&’s Stayfree/Carefree brands. At the time, Always was the only brand with both a regular and a thin maxi pad.
In 1986, Always Plus was introduced into the US representing the first line of feminine hygiene pads with panty protectors on the side, referred to as “wings”. The wings wrap around the panty to offer additional protection on the sides were leakage is most often likely to occur.
In 1991, Always Ultra was introduced onto the US market. The ultra pad incorporates a novel supersorber technology for feminine hygiene protection. In Europe, the general expansion of the full Always product line, including Always Ultra and pantiliners also began. Always was available throughout Europe and a number of countries in the Middle East.