Procter & Gamble (India)

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Procter & Gamble India is one of the country's leading advertisers, with a comparatively small portfolio of products led by India's best-selling healthcare brand, Vicks. Yet despite the country's vast size, India remains one of P&G's smaller global markets. For various historical reasons, the group operates through three separate subsidiaries, two of which are part-publicly owned, although all report to a central management team. One company manages the Vicks and Whisper healthcare products, another markets detergents, haircare products and diapers, and the third handles Gillette and Oral B. Performance has come under intense pressure since the mid-2010s.

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Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 25th Jun 2015: Ads of the Week: Cannes Grand Prix Glass Lion "Touch The Pickle". It's turning out to be a great year at Cannes for P&G, who have picked up three Grand Prix so far for their sanpro portfolio. The top award in the new Glass Lions category, celebrating gender-equality, was collected by BBDO India for its "Touch The Pickle" campaign for P&G's Whisper brand - the local version of Always. The campaign sets out to bust the myths surrounding menstruation in Indian communities, not least the taboo that dictates that a menstruating woman should not touch the pickle jar because it will spoil.


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Background

Free for all users | see full profile for current activities: Procter & Gamble's introduction to the huge Indian market came in 1985, following the group's acquisition of Richardson-Vicks, the widely diversified personal care and cosmetics business whose brands included Vicks and Oil of Olaz/Olay. Richardson-Vicks was already firmly established in India. In 1951, US-based Vicks Product Inc had established a trading joint venture in India, licensing the Vicks brand for local sale. Vicks Product India introduced the company's Vaporub and inhaler products with considerable success. Almost ten years later, following the merger of Richardson and Vicks, the license was taken over by Richardson Hindustan Ltd, a joint venture between Richardson and Indian partners. The company also set up facilities to process and manufacture raw menthol and peppermint oils. In 1967, Richardson Hindustan introduced another of its US brands into the territory, Clearasil.

In 1985 Richardson Vicks was acquired by Procter & Gamble, and Richardson Hindustan changed its name to Procter & Gamble India a few years later. The group gradually began the process of introducing its other global brands into this huge territory. The first to arrive was Whisper in 1989, a rebranded version of Always sanitary napkins. The product revolutionized the country's comparatively backward feminine hygiene market. Two years later, P&G India introduced its Ariel detergent.

In 1992, the group began a restructuring of its fast-growing Indian business. Uncomfortable with its inherited minority stake in the publicly owned P&G India, the company increased its shareholding in P&G India to 65%, and transferred Ariel and other detergents to a new, wholly owned subsidiary, Procter & Gamble Home Products. P&G India eventually changed its name to Procter & Gamble Health & Hygiene. A year later, the group formed a new joint venture with local company Godrej Soaps, the Indian importer of P&G's Camay soap, to launch Pantene and Head & Shoulders. This arrangement was dissolved in 1996, and Pantene and Head & Shoulders reverted to Procter & Gamble Home Products, although Godrej continued to distribute Camay.

In 2004, P&G launched a fierce competitive assault on Unilever's dominance of the Indian laundry detergent market, cutting prices by as much as half, and introducing a new bar version of its lower-priced Tide. The strategy appears to have worked. The company claimed it had doubled sales of its detergents to Rs5.5bn by the end of 2004. See full profile for current activities


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