September 2005: Times & Transcript (2)
All it takes is Just’a drop.
Inventor says no bathroom should be without new product that neutralizes unwanted odours before they happen.
Luc Jalbert can smell success. He says it has a hint of lime.
Luc Jalbert is the vice-president of Prelam Enterprises Inc., which had made the Moncton Industrial Park Home to a product Jalbert says no bathroom should be without.
Just’a Drop is a new kind of air freshener developed by the local company.
“Right before you sit down, you just put in one drop and you’ll see a film created on top of the water.”
Jalbert says, explaining the biodegradable product almost completely eliminates bathroom odours.
Prelam started running commercial featuring Just’a Drop on the Weather network and Météomédia at the end of August and just started a local campaign.
The company started selling the product nearly a year ago, and got their big break this spring when it appeared in Wal-Mart stores nation-wide, but Jalbert says it’s the television commercials that have made a big difference in sales.
« Now we’re feeling the momentum, » he says. « Sales were slow, but nobody knew what it was… We saw our two biggest days (at Wal-Mart) in the last three days. »
Jalbert came across the formula while in China on a business trip. He brought it back and gave it to partner Don Goguen to test.
Goguen didn’t mention the product again for some time. « One day he just walked into my office and said ‘hey, that stuff really works! » Jalbert says. They knew they had a winner but they also had a dilemma.
« The challenge was to create a marketing strategy. You are talking about poop, » he says, « We had to get the consumer talking about something nobody talks about. »
They also needed a way to let people know how the product works.
« Everything else you buy is for after, ours is for before, » he says. « Normally you would just spray the can (of freshener) and hope nobody goes in, whereas this actually fills the air with a nice, clean smell and neutralizes odours. »That`s where the TV spots have come in handy – that, and a deal with Irving Tissue to package samples of the product with their Majesta brand toilet paper.
Jalbert says once they get people to try their product once, they’re hooked. « I tested with my dentist, my doctor, my accountant. People were still using it six months later, » he says. « The question was how do I get the mass population to test it without going broke? So we made a deal with Irving Tissue and they put samples in 25,000 packages which got distributed to Wal-Mart. »
Now Just’a Drop is poised to go global. Jalbert says he’s already working with interested parties in Japan, the UK and the US.
« That tells me we really have a winner. It’s a heck of a healthy sign, » he says. « We`re still the little guys, but we are starting to be proud of that… We are going to revolutionize the way people got to the bathroom. »
Jalbert says they are also working on two spin off products – a smaller, even more portable product and an automatic dispenser that would add a drop to the water when you sit on the seat.
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