Reckitt Benckiser has one problem, persuading people to call it RB

A few months ago household goods giant Reckitt Benckiser announced that henceforth it would be known as the hardly inspiring RB, and the world yawned and turned the other way.

One of the points about Reckitt is its collection of funny names – most notably Cillit Bang cleaner – and the Reckitt comes from British food company Reckitt & Colman which merged with Dutch detergent firm Benckiser decades ago.

Since then it’s ceased to be a food company (although it owns French’s mustard in the US) and detergents no longer play a major role. Now it’s cleaners, OTC pharmaceuticals after buying Boots’ Strepsils brand among others and, most recently, condoms with its agreed £2.54bn bid to buy Durex maker SSL.

Now it’s running a TV campaign in the US allegedly to persuade employees and potential recruits like students to think of the company as RB. Presumably it thinks old fuddy duddies who still call it Reckitt will get the message in the end.

No doubt they will. But it’s interesting that a company that has successfully taken on giants like Procter & Gamble and Unilever can’t persuade the world to call it by the right name.

RB just doesn’t hack it somehow.

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About Angie Dean


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    Since the merger of Reckitt & Colman and Benckiser 10 years ago, RB has developed a unique, fast moving culture. A year ago, we rolled out a new logo – based on the concept of the sport kite — designed to represent that speed and uniqueness. It’s contemporary, bold, and it reflects our spirit. It also enables us to use ‘RB’ as a shorthand for Reckitt Benckiser for the first time, which I think we can all agree is much easier to say than “Reckitt Benckiser” in most parts of the world.

    At the same time, we need to be more identifiable if we are to compete with the likes of P&G or Unilever in attracting the best and brightest talent. For years we’ve been known as the ultimate marketing engine. Now we’re leveraging that expertise & drive to market our corporate brand with the same vigor we market our PowerBrands. The TV end frames campaign is designed to enhance the presence of RB by driving a stronger link between our Brands and our Company.

    This is being done to build awareness of RB among the student and early professional target audience and is in line with our larger “employer brand awareness” campaign. While the TV end frames are kicking off this effort in the U.S.. they are just one spoke of this innovative campaign.

    In fact, RB also just launched the poweRBrands online game last week. poweRBrands™, aimed at 18-30 year olds, is designed to mirror the real-life experience of being a marketing executive in a leading edge company such as RB. Those want to try it for themselves can do so at