Procter & Gamble: Swiffer

In 1994 we still pushed a heavy bucket and rag mop around the house, watching the soapy water turn dark with dirt well before the job was done.

swiffer heroimage
P&G put Continuum’s design-thinking approach to work, overhauled their floor-cleaning products, and reimagined our notion of the mop.

01

Challenge

The year was 1994. New technologies and means of communication had begun to transform every aspect of our lives. Yet we still cleaned our floors the same way our mothers had—pushing a heavy, sloshing bucket and rag mop around the house, watching the soapy water turn dark with dirt well before the job was done.

Proctor & Gamble recognized that the category of home cleaning had grown stagnant, while dozens of brands competed for market share. In particular, P&G’s line of floor cleaning products, comprised of various mop-and-bucket detergents, had changed little in decades. Motivated by the corporation’s goal to generate $5 billion in revenue from new product lines, P&G’s Director of Corporate New Ventures launched a pursuit that would change the way people approached the chore in the 21st century:

“Find a better way to clean floors in the home.”

02

Research & Insights

03

Solution

Continuum helped Procter & Gamble take advantage of an opportunity space in a laggard category of consumer goods, and truly reinvent the way that people clean their homes.

In 1999, P&G launched an entirely new line of home cleaning products based on the design principle of “fast clean.” The Swiffer product line turned what had once been a physically demanding, time-consuming chore into a cleaning experience that is quick, easy, and even fun.

While P&G worked with other partners in the development of the final Swiffer product, Continuum is the only design and innovation partner named on the patent.

swiffer interactive
FPO Cleanser dispenser integrated into the Swiffer handle
FPO Refillable pre-mixed solution
FPO Swiffer package of dry sheets
Priliminary product sketch of the Swiffer
$11.1

million Swiffer starter kits were sold in the first year.

Launched to the global market in July 1999, the Swiffer generated $100 million in sales in the final four months of that year. By the one-year mark of the product’s release, P&G had sold more than $11.1 million Swiffer starter kits across the United States.

04

Results