Procter & Gamble celebrates 175 years in business this year.
As America’s, probably the world’s, biggest advertiser, its brands are literally household names.
(Also, given the huge number of television commercials they air and, with a few notable exceptions, the mediocrity of the typical P&G spot, each 30-second commercial may very well feel 175 years long.)
But you have to give them credit. Many of their brands are overachievers in the marketplace, ringing up ten-figure annual sales. They’re ubiquitous. They’re well-known,
How well-known? Take a look at the slide show. You’ll see closeups from labels of an even dozen P&G billion-dollar brands. See if you can tell which is which. Then check the answers below.
Slideshow quiz answers:
- (d) Head & Shoulders – It’s Procter & Gamble’s biggest shampoo brand.
- (c) Olay – Around P&G headquarters, it’s jokingly called “Oil of Old Lady” (which may be why so many P&G attempts at television humor, like the Charmin branding about what bears do in the woods, fall flat). But $2 billion-plus sales is no laughing matter.
- (e) Ivory – Legend has it that P&G’s flagship brand was created when a worker forgot to turn off a mixing machine. This mixed too many air bubbles into the soap, making it buoyant. The resulting slogan, “It Floats,” not only put the company on the map, but also was the first of a long line of factoids masquerading as product benefits that have characterized much P&G advertising since.
- (b) Gain – It’s become a megabrand among Hispanics.
- (d) Fusion – The fastest P&G brand to reach $1 billion in sales.
- (b) Iams – The dog’s a giveaway. But you probably don’t know the brand was created and launched by a former P&G sales rep, who ran the business successfully for 45 years and only then sold out to his former employer.
- (d) Tide – Even though they delayed the launch of their pods line extension twice, it’s still projected to hit half a billion in sales.
- (c) Crest – Winning American Dental Association approval in 1960 doubled its sales.
- (b) Bounty – P&G originally named it Charmin, then relaunched it as Bounty in 1965. Do you think people may have found a bathroom brand for wiping up kitchen spills kind of unappetizing?
- (d) Swiffer – It made the cover of Rolling Stone in 2003. You may not have noticed, though – either because you don’t read Rolling Stone or because it was a prop for Jessica Simpson.
- (a) Charmin – It’s scary for the brand associated with Mr. Whipple and a lame, old bear joke (see above), but if Charmin were a stand-alone company, it would be in the Fortune 300.
- (a) Pantene – Today, it’s the world’s leading line of hair-care products, but in 1985 P&G bought it almost by mistake – as an afterthought in a bigger acquisition.
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