Reckitt Benckiser (RB) has announced plans to sell a new Cillit Bang cleaning product exclusively through its Facebook page.

It is likely to be the first of a number of e-commerce trials by RB, as it has said that it plans to invest an extra £100m in brand building across Europe.

The launch of Cillit Bang ‘All in 1 Dish & Surface Cleaner’ is being supported with digital activity across several social media channels, using competitions and games to talk to its target audience.

RB is also resurrecting its Barry Scott character, who featured heavily in previous campaigns.

RB’s UK marketing director Stefan Gaa said the use of social media allows the company to interact more intimately with its target market, tailoring Facebook page offers quickly and precisely.

F-commerce is a growing trend among consumer brands – last week Cadbury announced the launch of a new Wispa product to the bar’s 1.8m Facebook fans, while in November Heinz made a new Tomato Ketchup product available to its 900,000 fans a month before selling it in shops.

However while these two examples made sense since the brands involved had large existing Facebook communities that were highly engaged, Cillit Bang currently only has 12,000 fans on the social network.

Are consumers going to be as excited about an extension to a range of cleaning products as they are about the launch of a new variety of their favourite chocolate bar?

MPG Media Contacts head of consumer innovation Amy Kean said that while a Facebook launch and bespoke shopping tab may play a part in driving word of mouth, RB shouldn’t rely on Facebook as its sole marketing activity.

We have to remember that it can cost a relatively small amount to create these applications, and as long as Cillit Bang is treating this as a test, rather than hedging its bets on driving all its sales through a social platform, then it’s a great tactic.”

She said that Cillit Bang is a well-respected brand, with an engaging spokesperson, and the product does look like genuine innovation in the sector.

As such, if it can enhance its social capital by amplifying purchases and gaining recommendations through Facebook, then it’s probably worth the investment.

I’m assuming that the campaign will be launched with a significant Facebook advertising spend, too, which will at the very least drive awareness of the new product, even if the sales don’t go directly through social media.”

At the beginning of the year, we compiled 11 of the best examples of f-commerce for 2012, which is an updated version of a post from May 2011 that details 101 more.