Tuesday, March 06, 2001

P&G, Whirlpool test appliance

Joint product freshens fabrics

By Randy Tucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Procter & Gamble Co. and Whirlpool Corp. recently threw some ideas together in the research-and-development spin cycle and pulled out a fresh new fabric-care product already in preliminary tests in a small number of homes.

        The Whirlpool Personal Valet Clothes Vitalizing System is a 5-foot-high, box- shaped appliance that freshens, reshapes and smooths wrinkles in clothes in about a half-hour.

        The appliance, made by Whirlpool, uses a new heat-activated formula from P&G, called Presiva, that creates a “penetrating mist” to freshen clothes and remove wrinkles.

        Presiva is a formula designed exclusively for use in the new Whirlpool appliance and not the same as fabric refreshers used in P&G's Febreze fabric-care product or Dryel home dry-cleaning kit, a P&G spokeswoman said.

        The appliance comes with a variety of accessories, including special hangers and weight clips, that help in reshaping and smoothing wrinkles in garments.

        Whirlpool declined to comment on the price of the new appliance, but company representatives at the National Association of Home Builders Show said last month that the machine would cost less than $1,000.

        A full-fledged market test, in which the appliance would be rolled out in stores alongside other Whirlpool appli ances, is planned for this year, P&G's Kelly Anchrum said.

        Presiva already is being marketed directly to consumers via the Internet at www.presiva.com.

        But, for now, only those families participating in preliminary tests can buy the product online.

        “It's too early to comment on distribution because this is kind of a new concept for us,” Ms. Anchrum said, referring to the new formula. But “we've got to work through how (consumers) would replenish Presiva.


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