History & Marketing Strategies of Mortein

Company Name- Mortein
Founder- J. Hagemann and Samuel Taylor; currently owned by- Reckitt Benckiser

Mortein is a well-known name when it comes to mosquito and insect repellent. It started its journey as an insecticide in Australia during the late 1800s. The products of this brand are now available in the majority of the Asian, African and European countries along with Australia. The brand is now owned by a British company called Reckitt Benckiser. This company mainly deals with various hygiene and home products. This brand is well exposed to media which is the pillar of its success.

 How it all started

The history of Mortein is quite interesting as it started its journey during the 1870s.The origin of the company in Australia. J. Hagemann emigrated from Germany to Australia and made an organic formula using the chrysanthemum flowers to create an insecticide. The extract was named as pyrethrum which was a powdery insecticide in nature.

The name of the product came out quite remarkably as a mixture of French and a German word.  This happened as Hagemann as a German had a French wife. ‘Mort’ is a French word which means dead and ‘Ein’ is known as one in German. So, the meaning of the name of the brand is ‘Dead One’.  



After the discovery of the powdery insecticide, Hageman thought of marketing it. Later he partnered with Samuel Taylor and launched it in the market. Samuel continued the business until the year 1895 when he died. The business of the brand dissolved for a short while until Thomas Jackson and F.S.Steer jointly revived it during 1909.

Hagemann still belonged to the team as the innovator. The duo went on and turned Mortein into a product of a company named Samuel Taylor Pty Ltd. The year when this proprietary company saw its inception was 1937. New launchings were made during the 1940s, 50s, and 60s as the managing director Bill Graham acted as a visionary for Mortein ensuring its outstanding success.

In 1969, Reckitt and Colman bought the Samuel Taylor Pty Ltd. The new company worked with several innovations with the brand till in 1999 Reckitt and Colman merged with Benckiser.        


Mortein- Marketing Strategies and interesting reasons behind its marvelous success

-The primary reason for Mortein being a successful brand is innovation. Right from the initial days, the brand has launched a number of different products that can kill insects and rodents in the house.

-The initial product that Hagemann launched was powdery and soon he invented the squeeze puffer in the 1920s. This turned the application procedure lucid and more people were attracted to buy the product.

-A liquid version of the product was invented by Hagemann in 1928. The product was mixed with kerosene and the insecticide could be sprayed in a particular area with the flit gun. This was one of the greatest inventions ever made by Hagemann and it is considered as a milestone in the field of insecticide and its application. More people were attracted towards Mortein taking this brand to a glittering success. 

-Bill Graham, the visionary managing director put up an ‘infomercial’ during the late 1950s when television reached in Australia. This was a deliberate marketing strategy made by Bill to ensure the success of the brand. Remarkably, the advertisement of Mortein was the only TV commercials showed for the first time in Australia.

-Mortine now having an international market and a brand belonging to Reckitt & Benckiser has got and esteemed portfolio. It is one of the leading names of the household products in all the countries it has markets in.

-Since the initial days, the price of the Mortein products has remained well affordable for all classes of people. In spite of the fact that the brand has come across 3 major company changes but the prices of the products have always remained reasonable.

-The brand positioning of Mortein has forever been efficient. This makes the brand much credible among the common mass. Mostly the South Asian countries like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are having a decently yielding market for Mortein.


 Mortein Campaigns

In the case of the ad campaigns, Mortein is probably the only brand that has shown must consistency. The antagonist of the television commercial ‘Loui the Fly’ has not changed in even the most recent commercials of Mortein. However, with the advancement of technology has given Loui a whole new outlook. In any commercial, the antagonist itself is ever seen singing about the negativities it possesses and that it is feared of only a man with a Mortein can.  

In some of the commercials, Mortein has collaborated with some leading actors and actresses depending upon the country and the product.

Music has always been an integral part of every commercial of Mortein. James Joseph White was the composer of the jingle which is still used in the majority of the commercials of Mortein. Till the death of James, the copyright was present to his name. Currently, the family of James owns the copyright of the same jingle that he created.  In the Australian commercial, the song for Louise was sung by Ross Higgins.



Mortein is one of the most famous brands for insecticides and mosquito repellent. In the present day, there are different types of products under the brand name of Mortein. The most sold products by the brand are the spray cans of mosquitoes and cockroaches. The liquid vaporizing machines are also sold by the brand in a decent manner. 

In recent time, Mortein is able to successfully sustain with the business as it has an international market. When it comes to Reckitt & Benckiser, the company is only able to incur much profit from the brand due to its outstanding quality. It is proven to be a bold step not changing the brand name during this large period of Mortein’s journey. 

A change in the brand name might have put negative effects on the credibility of the product. In Australia as well as some Asian countries too, Mortein has become an exclusive name when it comes to fighting with insects.        

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