|Type||Public (NYSE: CLX)|
|Headquarters||Oakland, California, U.S.|
|Revenue||▲ $4.58 billion USD (2006, June)|
|Net income||▲ $457 million USD (2006, June)|
The product and the company date 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. The firm was first called the Electro-Alkaline Company. 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. In 1917, the company developed a less concentrated version for household, rather than industrial, use, and sales took off.
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.
During World War II, when chlorine gas shortages forced many bleach manufacturers to reduce the concentration of sodium hypochlorite in their products, Clorox elected to sell fewer units of a full-strength product, establishing a reputation for quality.
In 1957, Clorox was bought by Procter & Gamble, a purchase that was challenged by the Federal Trade Commission, which feared it would stifle competition in the household products market. The FTC won, and in 1969, Clorox again was made independent.
In 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. During that period, Clorox experimented with many different types of products, including detergent (Clorox Super Detergent), bottled water (Deer Park), paint (Lucite), wood stains (Olympia), cereal (Cream of Rice), canned mushrooms (Country Kitchen Foods), frozen food (Moore's and Domani's), bar soap (Satine), and restaurant equipment (Prince Castle). For a while it even owned a small restaurant chain (Emil Villa's). However, all these enterprises did not pan out and were eventually sold or spun off. The brands which did prove profitable and were retained in Clorox's portfolio are listed below.
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. In Canada, where Clorox-branded products were not previously available, the acquired products have since been known as "Javex by Clorox", suggesting the eventual retirement of the Javex brand.
Clorox has received criticism for several of its advertisements.
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 womens job only.
Clorox also received complaints of sexism for an advertisement that featured a mans white, lipstick-stained dress shirt with the caption, "Clorox. Getting ad guys out of hot water for generations."
Clorox have also received criticism for their slogan, "Mama's got the magic of Clorox".
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.
Clorox received further criticism for their Clorox Green Works line, in regards to their claims the products are environmentally friendly. Several Clorox Green Works products contain ethanol, which environmental groups state is neither cost-effective nor eco-friendly. Many products also contain sodium lauryl sulfate, which has long been criticized by the scientific community for its negative health effects. 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. Environmentalists have asked "Why sell one set of products that have hazardous ingredients and others that don't?"
Clorox have also been accused of greenwashing over their encouragement of people to use filtered water over bottled water.