Clorox

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The Clorox Company
TypePublic
Traded as
Industry
FoundedOakland, California, U.S. (May 3, 1913 (1913-05-03))
Founder(s)
  • Archibald Taft
  • Edward Hughes
  • Charles Husband
  • Rufus Myers
  • William Hussey
HeadquartersClorox Building, Oakland, California, U.S.
Area servedWorldwide
Key people
  • Donald R. Knauss (Chairman & CEO)
  • William Murray
  • Annie Murray
Products
  • Cleaners
  • Food
  • Cat litter
  • Charcoal
  • Cosmetics
RevenueIncrease US$5.45 Billion (FY 2009)[1]
Operating incomeIncrease US$998 Million (FY 2009)[1]
Net incomeIncrease US$537 Million (FY 2009)[1]
Total assetsDecrease US$4.58 Billion (FY 2009)[2]
Total equityIncrease US$-175 Million (FY 2009)[2]
Employees7,600[3]
Website
 
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The Clorox Company
TypePublic
Traded as
Industry
FoundedOakland, California, U.S. (May 3, 1913 (1913-05-03))
Founder(s)
  • Archibald Taft
  • Edward Hughes
  • Charles Husband
  • Rufus Myers
  • William Hussey
HeadquartersClorox Building, Oakland, California, U.S.
Area servedWorldwide
Key people
  • Donald R. Knauss (Chairman & CEO)
  • William Murray
  • Annie Murray
Products
  • Cleaners
  • Food
  • Cat litter
  • Charcoal
  • Cosmetics
RevenueIncrease US$5.45 Billion (FY 2009)[1]
Operating incomeIncrease US$998 Million (FY 2009)[1]
Net incomeIncrease US$537 Million (FY 2009)[1]
Total assetsDecrease US$4.58 Billion (FY 2009)[2]
Total equityIncrease US$-175 Million (FY 2009)[2]
Employees7,600[3]
Website
The Clorox Building, Clorox's diamond-shaped headquarters in Oakland

The Clorox Company is an American manufacturer of various food, chemical and consumer products based in Oakland, California, which is best known for its namesake bleach product, Clorox.

History[edit]

The product and the company date back to May 3, 1913, when five entrepreneurs, Archibald Taft, a banker; Edward Hughes, a purveyor of wood and coal; Charles Husband, a bookkeeper; Rufus Myers, a lawyer; and William Hussey, a miner, invested $100 apiece to set up the first commercial-scale liquid bleach factory in the United States, on the east side of San Francisco Bay.[4] The firm was first called the Electro-Alkaline Company.[4] The name of its original bleach product, Clorox, was coined as a portmanteau of chlorine and sodium hydroxide, the two main ingredients. The original Clorox packaging featured a diamond-shaped logo, and the diamond shape has persisted in one form or another in Clorox branding to the present.

The public, however, didn't know very much about liquid bleach when Clorox bleach debuted. Although the Electro-Alkaline Company started slowly, and was about to collapse quickly, it would not be until 1916 when investor William Murray took over the company as general manager and convinced his wife, Annie, to hand out free, 15-ounce, sample bottles to the public at their family grocery store in Oakland. Not long after, word began to spread throughout the public and, in 1917, the Electro-Alkaline Company began shipping Clorox bleach to the East Coast via the Panama Canal.

In 1928, the company went public on the San Francisco stock exchange and changed its name to the Clorox Chemical Company. "Butch," an animated Clorox liquid bleach bottle, was used in advertising and became well-known, even surviving the 1941 transition from rubber-stoppered bottles to ones with screw-off caps.[5]

The Clorox Chemical Company was strong enough to survive the Great Depression throughout the 1930s, achieving national distribution of Clorox bleach in the process, but during World War II, even though Clorox bleach proved useful as a first aid product for American armed forces, one of the bleach's ingredients was being rationed, as, under U.S. Government orders, chlorine gas shortages forced many bleach manufacturers to reduce the concentration of sodium hypochlorite in their products, thus diluting them with water. Clorox, however, declined and elected to sell fewer units of a full-strength product, establishing a reputation for quality.[5]

In 1957, Clorox was bought by Procter & Gamble, which renamed its new subsidiary "The Clorox Company". That purchase was objected by a rival company, almost immediately, and challenged by the Federal Trade Commission, which feared it would stifle competition in the household products market. The FTC won in 1967 after a ten year battle, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that P&G must divest The Clorox Company, and on January 1, 1969, Clorox was made independent again.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Clorox pursued an aggressive expansion program in which it attempted to establish itself as a major diversified consumer products conglomerate, like P&G. They started off with a brand-new product that they introduced in 1970: Clorox 2 all-fabric bleach. Later on in that period, they acquired a number of brands that remain a part of their portfolio today, including Formula 409, Liquid-Plumr, Kingsford charcoal and a series of cleaning products including Tilex and Pine-Sol. They even acquired a ranch dressing that was still new to the market, which was under the name "Hidden Valley Ranch".

In 1988, Clorox struck a licensing-and-distribution agreement that brought Brita water filters to North and South America; the company acquired sole control of the brand in 2000 with Brita agreeing to a non-compete clause until 2005.

In 1991, Clorox hired Ketchum Public Relations in order to put in place a public relations crisis management plan.[6]

In 1999, Clorox acquired First Brands, the former consumer products division of Union Carbide, in the largest transaction in its history, with brands including Glad, Handi-Wipes (which First Brands acquired from Colgate-Palmolive just months before the Clorox acquisition) and STP being brought on to the Clorox portfolio.

In 2002, Clorox sold a 10% stake in the Glad products to P&G; the company would soon take 20% control in 2005.

In September 2010, Clorox announced that it was selling the ArmorAll and STP brands to Avista Capital Partners.

Brands[edit]

The stylized Clorox logo used on Clorox bleach and other Clorox consumer products.
Clorox product

The Clorox Company currently owns a number of other well-known household and professional brands across a wide variety of products, among them:

For historical reasons, in some markets the company's namesake bleach products are currently sold under regional brands. Clorox acquired the Javex line of bleach products sold in Canada, and similar product lines in parts of Latin and South America, from Colgate-Palmolive in late 2006.[9] In Canada, where Clorox-branded products were not previously available, the acquired products were briefly known as "Javex by Clorox", but have since fully transitioned to Clorox.

Clorox's Net Sales by Geographic Regions from 2005 to 2007[10]

Geographic Region (in millions)200720062005
Foreign870766696
United States3,9773,8783,692

The Clorox brand started on May 3, 1913, when five entrepreneurs, Archibald Taft, Edward Hughes, Charles Husband, Rufus Myers, and William Hussey each invested $100 a piece to set up the first commercial scale liquid bleach factory in the United States, on the east side of San Francisco Bay. Bleach is a chemically combined substance that is used to remove or lighten color usually by oxidation. Many ingredients make up Clorox bleach but the main ingredients are water, sodium hypochlorite (used to whiten and kill bacteria), sodium chloride(also known as salt), Sodium carbonate (removes alcohol and grease stains), sodium hydroxide (removes soils that are fatty, oily, or acidic), and sodium polyacrylate.

Controversy[edit]

Clorox has received criticism for several of its advertisements.

Allegations of sexism[edit]

One commercial which showed several generations of women doing laundry, included the words "Your mother, your grandmother, her mother, they all did the laundry, maybe even a man or two". The commercial received criticism from feminists on the grounds it insinuates laundry is a women's job only.[11][12]

Clorox have also received criticism for their slogan, "Mama's got the magic of Clorox", on similar grounds.[13]

Clorox also received complaints of sexism for an advertisement that featured a man's white, lipstick-stained dress shirt with the caption, "Clorox. Getting ad guys out of hot water for generations."[14]

Dubious product claims[edit]

The National Advertising Division told Clorox to either discontinue or modify their advertisements for Clorox Green Works, on the grounds the cleaners actually do not work as well as traditional cleaners, as Clorox had claimed.[15]

Clorox received further criticism for their Clorox Green Works line, in regards to their claims the products are environmentally friendly.[16] Several Clorox Green Works products contain ethanol, which environmental groups state is neither cost-effective nor eco-friendly.[16] Many products contain sodium lauryl sulfate, a known skin irritant.[16] Environmentalists have also questioned whether or not the Clorox Green Works line is greenwashing, as Clorox's 'Green' products are far outnumbered by their traditional products.[17] Environmentalists have asked "Why sell one set of products that have hazardous ingredients and others that don't?"[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Clorox Company (CLX) annual SEC income statement filing via Wikinvest
  2. ^ a b Clorox Company (CLX) annual SEC balance sheet filing via Wikinvest
  3. ^ Standard and Poor's 500 Guide. The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. 2007. ISBN 0-07-147906-6. 
  4. ^ a b Clorox company history, page 1
  5. ^ a b Clorox company history, page 3
  6. ^ Stauber, John and Rampton, Sheldon (1995). "Toxic Sludge is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry". Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press.
  7. ^ http://www.thecloroxcompany.com/products/our-brands/brita/
  8. ^ http://www.thecloroxcompany.com/products/our-brands/burts-bees/
  9. ^ Clorox press release, December 20, 2006
  10. ^ Breakdown of net sales by geographical markets from company 8Ks
  11. ^ Wallace, Kelsey (August 31, 2009). "Mad Men's Portrayal of Sexism Seeps Unironically into its Commercial Breaks". Bitch magazine. Retrieved February 5, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Clorox's history of women's unwaged labor". Feministing. Retrieved November 8, 2010. 
  13. ^ If Women Ruled the World: How to Create the World We Want to Live In. New World Library. p. 65. ISBN 978-1-930722-36-1. Retrieved February 4, 2010. 
  14. ^ Wright, Jennifer (September 28, 2009). "Clorox "Mad Men" Ads Miss The Target". Brandchannel.com. Retrieved February 5, 2010. 
  15. ^ "NAD Tells Clorox to Clean Up Ads". Environmentalleader.com. August 17, 2008. Retrieved February 5, 2010. 
  16. ^ a b c Tennery, Amy (April 22, 2009). "4 'green' claims to be wary of". MSN. Retrieved February 5, 2010. 
  17. ^ a b DeBare, Ilana (January 14, 2008). "Clorox introduces green line of cleaning products". SFGate.com. Retrieved February 5, 2010. 

External links[edit]