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Jun 6, 2017  Düsseldorf/Germany

Henkel celebrates 110 Years of Persil

Clean into the future

Persil turns 110 years old.

Tradition and innovation have been Persil’s steadfast companions for 110 years now. Developed in 1907 as the world’s first self-acting laundry detergent, it revolutionized the family washday. Today consumers around the globe still appreciate the innovative developments that make their daily chores just that little bit easier. Time to celebrate: Happy Birthday, Persil!

It was on June 6, 1907, precisely 110 years ago, that the launch ad appeared in the local paper, “Düsseldorfer Zeitung,” announcing the arrival of the first self-acting laundry detergent, courtesy of Henkel & Cie., Düsseldorf. Suddenly, laundry could be cleaned “by boiling just once – without effort and without rubbing,” the ad proclaimed. Initially a global innovation that attracted true market success, Persil has since consistently set the standard with launches marking new milestones in detergent-related research and development. The list runs from Persil 59, Liquid, Color and Megaperls, through to the Power-Mix Caps introduced in 2016 in which, for the first time, powder and gel are combined in a single capsule. And as of this year, we have another new Persil development: With Persil Clean & Smooth, the brand now even makes ironing easier while also protecting garments from creasing.

But who is behind Persil? Representing some of our teams, we would like to introduce you to employees who work for Persil every day:

The faces behind Persil

Sabine Schümann, research and development manager within International Product Development, Liquid Detergents

“For me, everything revolves around Persil. I have been working in product development for liquid detergents for the last 16 years. Our job is to continually improve the formulations, develop innovative and ever more sustainable Persil products and to keep an eye of current trends so that we can surprise our consumers. According to the motto: ‘Our Best from Persil’ (‘Unser Bestes von Persil’). A major innovation was ‘Duo Caps’, for which we developed the detergent newly. The challenge here was to find a perfect blend, one that produced excellent laundry results while ensuring that the film seal dissolved quickly and residue-free in the washing machine.

I get regular positive feedback from my own family, all of whom wash only with Persil. My grandma, for example, is very proud of being able to buy products that her granddaughter has helped to develop. Persil is simply a family brand – and it really is special to work for it!”

Ralf Bunn, perfumer at the Henkel Fragrance Center responsible for Persil

“I have been creating scents for Persil for 20 years now – and right from the start it has for me always been a passion rather than a job. Persil is a global brand, and that fascinates me, because this is also reflected in the fragrance. In the year 2000, we modified the scent to ensure that it had its roots in the same fragrance family across all product variants and right around the world. It is floral, fresh and fruity with notes such as bergamot, lemon, apple, jasmine, violet, Indian sandalwood or musk. The secret lies in finding the individual notes to accommodate cultural differences. However, fresh fragrances are popular all over the world, from America to Asia. Persil has always stood for fine fabric care and cleanliness coupled with exceptional efficiency. And our aim is to support this brand promise with the appropriate scent. The challenge, therefore, lies in constantly further developing the fragrance and creating a pleasant perfume experience across all phases of the laundry wash – in the pack, on the damp washing and after two weeks in the cupboard.”

Christoph Huppertz, Nationaler Key Account Manager

“We in key account management are the central interface between our customers and Henkel. We extend partnerships and constantly intensify the ensuing relationships. Part of our job is to handle negotiations involving the placement of new products or the planning and implementation of trade campaigns. In the case of Persil, I am currently responsible for the anniversary promotion for ‘110 years of Persil’: We are placing the special sizes with 110 wash loads at the point of sale and ensure a widespread implementation in trade. Persil is a brand with amazing innovative strength and it is great to have such a brand in our portfolio. Seeing the enthusiasm of our customers – and our consumers – is highly motivational. Persil is simply always a highlight.”

Silvia Kukraszewski, laboratory manager responsible for quality assurance in Laundry & Home Care production at the Düsseldorf site

“In the year 2000, I completed an apprenticeship as a chemical lab assistant with Henkel and now, as a lab manager, I have been responsible over the last four years for ensuring the highest quality in the laundry detergents and household cleaners manufactured on site here, which also means all Persil products. With my team, we support the production plants in introducing new formulations and products, help them to deal with quality issues and communicate with suppliers in case of nonconformities in raw materials and packaging materials. We also ensure that the appearance of the products is as it should be, for example that the labels are nicely applied to the bottles or that all the folding boxes are properly adhesive-bonded – because these are the quality criteria that the consumer notices first in store. We attach the highest priority to ensuring the best possible product quality. Persil is a traditional brand and, quite simply, the best laundry detergent in the market. Even my grandmother would never use anything else. This was also one of the reasons why I decided to start my apprenticeship at Henkel. And I have never regretted it.”

Maria Lancellotti and Robert Wojewoda, plant operator and production line technician in the liquid detergent production facility in Düsseldorf

“I have been working in liquid detergent production here in Düsseldorf for 27 years. We supervise the production lines, adjust the machines to new orders, and check the quality of the products – including Persil. I think Persil is fantastic, and it reminds me of the lovely time I spent with my grandma.” Maria Lancellotti

“I started at Henkel back in 1996. As production line technicians, it is our job to ensure the smooth running of the production. Persil is an essential part here, as we manufacture a number of liquid variants – from heavy-duty to sensitive gel, including for export to other countries. Persil is simply a brand that everyone in the world knows. My family at home also uses nothing but Persil for the laundry.” Robert Wojewoda

Paolo Cosentino, shift supervisor in powder production, Düsseldorf site, and
Roland Doerr, tower operator in the powder production plant

“In powder production, it’s all about flexibility, precision and teamwork. As a shift supervisor, I am the first point of contact for around 25 employees per shift. Together, we ensure that production remains smooth, convert the lines to new formulations and check the product quality. Persil is just a great brand. In 1999, during my training as an industrial fitter, we built the Persil Clock which is now located near to gate one here in Düsseldorf.” Paolo Cosentino

“I have been working in the control room of the detergent atomization plant for almost 30 years. As spray tower operators, we monitor the production of what is called the ‘tower powder’ – a basic ingredient used for Persil powder and Megaperls. It’s never boring. We also convert production to new formulations, check the nozzles in the tower and take samples for the lab. Persil is a brand with a long history – and in today’s fast-moving world, that has got to be something pretty special!” Roland Doerr

Vera Diel, Marketing Director responsible for leading premium detergent brands in Western Europe

“Persil is simply a great brand with a long tradition and a strong, unique character – and it is available all around the world. We follow a ‘glocal’ approach: That means that we focus on developing global products while constantly checking for reasons to implement a local adaptation. It’s all about getting the balance and analysis right. As an example, the launch of “360° Reinheit & Pflege” (360° Cleanliness & Care) is the result of a very thorough market research analysis into the requirements and the modern lifestyles of our consumers. Especially women have a very active lifestyle as they juggle work, family and their hobbies. Consequently, they want perfect laundry results achieved with a minimum of effort and time spent. Hence our slogan: Live more, love Persil! And this is also exactly the driving force behind our latest innovation, Persil Clean & Smooth. It’s a real secret tip that makes ironing easier and ensures that the results are ideal in two ways – perfectly clean and perfectly smooth. The new technology developed ensures that creases are smoothed during the wash cycle. The people behind this innovation are an outstanding team – international, in the functional units and local – and this inspires me personally. They are fun to work with and when we are able to launch successful innovations, there is nothing more motivational.”

Hannes Hiemesch, senior brand manager for Persil in Germany

“It’s fun to face up to a new Persil challenge each day – especially when you are working in such a great team. Together we implement new brand and communication strategies, launch innovative products onto the German market, perform market and consumer analyses, and plan new promotional campaigns – such as is currently the case to celebrate the 110th birthday. Persil represents 110 years of innovation, and tomorrow we will be embarking with our consumers on a journey ‘into a clean future’ (‘Rein in die Zukunft’). In the third quarter we will be introducing not just special packaging but also a large communications package in honor of the anniversary. Being able to work for such a traditional and at the same time modern brand is something special. Persil is Germany’s most innovative laundry care brand – proven over 110 years and destined to remain so into the future.”

The white Lady is a real eye-catcher

For 95 years, the white Lady is a real eye-catcher. Here you can see how the advertising icon has evolved over time.

Persil – a brand around the world

Ever since, Persil has set the pace of time to serve society's changing needs, combining innovation and continuity – around the world. Today, Persil is available in more than 50 countries across five continents. First launched in Germany in 1907, Persil is now also very successful outside Europe, for example in South Korea, Mexico, Middle East and in North America with Persil ProClean. But in some countries, you won’t find Persil in the shelves. The secret is the name: Persil is for example known under the brand names ‘Le Chat’ in France, ‘Wipp Express’ in Spain, ‘Dixan’ in Italy and Greece as well as ‘Nadhif’ in North Africa.

  • North America
  • Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates
  • Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Turkey
  • South Korea

Persil ProClean was an overall brand concept developed specifically for the launch of the brand in North America in 2015. To especially cater the American preference for short cycles and low temperatures, a special cold wash formula was developed for Persil ProClean delivering professional cleaning performance with superior stain removal for brilliantly white and noticeably fresh laundry. The promotion is also special: In 2016 and 2017, millions of American Football fans around the globe held their breath during Persil’s appearance in the Super Bowls.

In 2008, Henkel launched a liquid laundry detergent specifically for Abayas, Persil Abaya Shampoo. For most Middle-Eastern women, the Abaya – a specific black, loose-fitting, full-length garment – is an important piece of clothing, which is handled with a lot of care. With its black renew technology, the detergent renews the radiance of the Abaya and ensures that the garment maintains its blackness, while simultaneously protecting and cleaning the fabric. The reason why the product is called “Persil Abaya Shampoo” is because most women used their hair shampoo to clean their Abaya before having a specialized detergent for the delicate garment.

“Changarro” in Mexico, “Bakala” in Saudi Arabia or “Bakkal” in Turkey – the local names for small kiosks vary around the globe. But more than 20 million traditional sales kiosks or convenience stores can be found worldwide. They sell laundry detergents and homecare products in smaller packages and are important distributors for Henkel.

To promote Persil in the Asian country, one important way of distribution are teleshopping channels. TV home shopping plays an important role in the country with a population of over 50 million people.