Living with nine cats is easier than you think

5th November 2021

Hi there,

In 1996, when P&G accidentally created a spray that eliminated smells, they figured they had struck gold. They were going to be on every housewife’s grocery list. They spent millions perfecting the formula and launched the product. 

Sales tanked almost immediately. Baffled as to why a useful product failed so badly, the team directly reached out to target users to understand why. 

When they visited the overpoweringly pungent house of a lady with nine cats, they were shocked. While she should have been bulk-ordering cartons of the spray, she was sitting on the couch blissfully oblivious to the smell. That’s when it hit them - you can get used to even the most unpleasant odors over time!

The stench of failure made them change tack quickly. They realized that simply eliminating bad odors wasn’t cutting it. So they added perfume and asked their users to spray it for a ‘fresh’ smell. P&G relaunched the product in 1998 as an air freshener, and it was an instant hit.

That’s how Febreze came to be a household name all over the world. Knowing when to pivot is a survival skill for every business. Would you add the metaphorical dash of perfume to your business? 

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