Surf is the name of a brand of laundry detergent made by Unilever and sold in India, Ireland, South Africa and many other countries. In the United States the Surf product line is owned by Sun Products. The brand Omo was used when it was introduced in Australia and New Zealand. Currently in Australia and South Africa, Surf as well as Omo are sold and they are both top-selling laundry detergents in Australia . Surf was introduced in 1959 after Rinso, formerly Lever's best selling detergent brand, had declined in both sales and market share . Formulations of the detergent and the market segment targeted vary by region; in some countries Unilever also markets Persil detergent (but in others Persil is a Henkel brand).
Unilever markets detergent products internationally and uses individual sub-brands to segment those markets. This tactic is also employed by Procter & Gamble, Unilever's main competitor.
The company has several key detergent brands. Their premium brand in most markets is "Omo" (launched in 1954). Surf is usually its secondary brand.
In the United Kingdom, Ireland and New Zealand, Unilever has rights to the Persil brand, and uses it to market their premium detergent products. The Omo brand is no longer sold in the United Kingdom.
In Cyprus, Greece, France, Portugal, South Africa and Spain, Unilever's premium product is "Skip". In Cyprus, Greece, France and South Africa Omo is used as a secondary brand. In the French market, Unilever also has rights to the Persil brand and uses it to market a range of sensitive and natural detergents.
In the Philippines, Surf is regarded as Unilever's flagship detergent brand, replacing Breeze (from 1993-2002) and Sunlight (1991-1999). The ad campaign "Lumen," which is about the right spending on savings, boosts sales of Surf products that other countries followed. Surf presently has also produced dishwashing liquid, fabric conditioner and liquid detergent (a first of its kind in the Philippines).
In Romania, the most popular detergent is DERO (which is an abbreviation for "DEtergent ROmânesc" - Romanian Detergent). DERO is the local version of Surf. Unilever also use OMO as a premium brand in Romania.
In Germany, Unilever's Omo is always sold (in 2012).
In Poland, Omo was one of the most populous and renowned detergent in 1990s. The brand was discontinued in the early 2000s.
A 2009 South African Omo marketing campaign prompted accusations of racism, a black consumer boycott, and an investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa.