Financially, that should be relatively easy to achieve. The damage to its reputation for product innovation and marketing may take rather longer to repair. The pounds 250m-odd invested in developing and launching the product looks to have been wasted, given that it has failed to boost Unilever's share of the all-important concentrates market in Britain, and has actually harmed it in the Netherlands. Promotions to boost sales - like the free pack deal being launched in the Netherlands today - will continue to cost money. Unilever's business is so large, however, that the impact on earnings will be almost imperceptible.
Unilever's credibility has undoubtedly suffered, however. Last year, P&G scuppered Unilever's launch of a concentrated liquid detergent in the US by the simple expedient of slashing the price of its own product, making Unilever's small packet look absurdly expensive by comparison. For a company that makes its living from marketing, that is two defeats too many: it will be desperate to win the next round.
Not all is yet lost. P&G has chosen to launch its new improved Ariel in Germany - the one country where Unilever has virtually no detergents interest. Could it be that P&G is tiring of the fight?