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Inside Fragrance: Evolution of an Air Care Giant

Posted: December 21, 2007

P&F's January issue takes a look at the evolution of Procter & Gamble's Febreze brand (page 18). Helping Febreze become the brand leader that it is today, is Martin Hettich, who has been in marketing for Febreze since 2000. Here, GCI magazine explores how Hettich has made the brand a huge success and what is in store next. (original story—"Parry and Advance"—published in the December 2007 issue of GCI magazine).

Science fiction writer Mitchell Graham—author of The Fifth Ring and The Emerald Cavern, among others—has trained and worked as an attorney and as a neuropsychologist, and is also an accomplished fencer. He told a reporter in 2003 that “fencing is like a physical game of chess played at lightning speed. Not only do you have to be able to put a point on your opponent’s chest at 150 mph, you’ve got to outthink them first.” Drawing a comparison between fencing and his first career he said, “Law is actually a little bit like fencing. Being a successful trial lawyer involves planning, strategy and execution.”

Procter & Gamble’s Martin Hettich knows a thing or two about fencing, too, in business settings and out. “I like the balance of elegance and the explosion of energy—you control yourself for a long time then have almost laser-like intensity for the attack,” Hettich said about the sport that took hold of his imagination at five or six years of age and has held him in its thrall ever since. While he no longer wields the foil or sabre competitively, he does still fence, and he makes a connection between his sport and his current work. “Air care needs to strike a balance. The power aspect is important: the gadget has to work but must balance with elegance—it has to look nice. Febreze Air Effects have actually been seen out in homes. Design is equally important to technology.”

Hettich joined P&G right out of college, working in brand management, comfortable in the knowledge that the company sought only the best people and excited by the promise that he would be his own boss very quickly. Surprisingly, he was not trained or educated in marketing. In fact, much of his education was in economics and business administration.

Birth of a Brand