In 1993, tobacco giant Philip Morris held a meeting to say that Marlboro would be cutting its cigarette prices significantly in an attempt to hold on to their market.

The 20% cut did more than that – it launched a new phase of marketing for Philip Morris and began a series of techniques that other companies ultimately copied and continue to use today.

In a move whose initial phases look remarkably similar, Proctor and Gamble is going to be holding a meeting to discuss Tide detergents, and the anticipation is that a similar change is about to take place in P&G’s marketing strategy. Whether it will be enough to pull them out of increasingly lagging consumer spending is yet to be seen.

The economy and laundry detergent
In a down economy, women who normally are brand-loyal to a particular detergent may choose cheaper alternatives temporarily, a finding P&G confirmed with surveys. They’ve lost about 19% of the market to discount brands, though 80% of those surveyed say they’ll be back to buying Tide when their budgets aren’t quite so tight.

If P&G is planning a price cut on the level of Marlboro’s, those women may be back to their favorite brands quicker than they thought.