P&G Beauty is the unit within Procter & Gamble which manages what was until recently a substantial portfolio of cosmetics, haircare and fragrance products. It is still a big business, but a huge chunk of the division was divested in 2016 to rival Coty. Only 12 of the biggest brands remain, including billion-dollar sellers Pantene, Head & Shoulders and Olay. The group's collection of male products is led by the rejuvenated Old Spice brand, subject of one of the most talked-about (and imitated) marketing campaigns in recent years. The sell-off to Coty represented a major retreat for P&G. Following a series of acquisitions, P&G had been pressing hard on the heels of market leader L'Oreal in both beauty products and fragrances by the late 2000s. However, the business stumbled after 2010 as sales and market share growth of multiple key products stalled or even declined. At the same time, L'Oreal strengthened its lead, and a string of acquisitions by Unilever had pushed P&G back into 3rd place again by 2013. Fixing those problems became the single most most important goal for reinstated group CEO AG Lafley. However, with no significant turnaround after two years, Lafley adopted a new strategy. In 2015, P&G agreed to sell around a quarter of its beauty business, including CoverGirl, Clairol, Wella and the fragrance business to Coty. That deal completed in Oct 2016.
Selected P&G Beauty advertising
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Adbrands Weekly Update 15th Jun 2017: P&G has promoted Alexandra Keith to president of the slimmed-down P&G Beauty division, following the departure of Patrice Louvet to become CEO of Ralph Lauren. Keith was previously president of global skincare; she is replaced in that role by SK-II brand leader Markus Strobel. Following the divestment of more than 40 mostly prestige brands to Coty, P&G is left with a core of 12 mass-market brands led by Olay, Pantene, Head & Shoulders, Secret and Old Spice. Its sole remaining prestige brand is the super-premium SK-II skincare range, also one of the division's strongest performers in recent years.
Adbrands Weekly Update 6th Oct 2016: Coty completed its acquisition of Procter & Gamble's specialty beauty brands on Monday this week, creating a new giant in the global market. Brands joining the Coty stable include Covergirl, Max Factor, Clairol and Wella, as well as the Gucci and Hugo Boss fragrance licenses. Coty's annual sales will more than double to around $9bn, and it becomes the global #1 in fragrances, #2 in professional haircare and #3 in colour cosmetics. At the same time, Camillio Pane moves up to global CEO of the enlarged business under chairman Bart Becht. The other big winner from completion is Publicis Group's Zenith Media network which takes over responsibility for all the transferring brands from Starcom, MediaCom and other former incumbents. Creative duties will change in due course. Currently, Grey handles creative for most of the brands affected, with Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett also involved in some markets.
Adbrands Weekly Update 26th May 2016: Ads of the Week: "The Question". Another excellent spot from Wieden & Kennedy for P&G's Secret clinical strength deodorant. We loved its predecessor and this one is just as great, presenting another high-stress situation for a new protagonist. What could be more stressful for Secret's target audience of women than asking for a raise? Well how about this? And once again a fine performance from the lead actress. Her slow reaction around the halfway mark is just wonderful! "Shut up Andy".
Adbrands Weekly Update 14th Apr 2016: Ads of the Week: "Raise". We love this great new spot from Wieden & Kennedy for P&G's Secret deodorant, enhanced by an entirely adorable performance from its fine lead. This just ticks all the boxes: lovely idea, excellent performances (from both actors), great script and direction and, hey, an underlying gender equality theme. What's not to like? Don't let the fact that it's for "clinical strength" deodorant put you off. Now *that's* sweaty!
Adbrands Weekly Update 10th Mar 2016: P&G quietly divested another collection of smaller emerging markets brands ahead of the main beauty business sale to Coty. Hipoglos, a Brazilian diaper rash cream, was transferred to Johnson & Johnson; while Henkel acquired a collection of haircare products sold mainly in Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Brands include Pert (which Henkel already owns in Latin America), Shamtu and Blendax. The group also finally completed the sale of the Duracell battery business to Berkshire Hathaway, almost a year and a half after the deal was announced.
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Free for all users | see full profile for current activities Procter & Gamble's first real move into the beauty sector came in the mid-1980s, as a result of increasing competition in the US market with Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Unilever. The two companies already competed in detergents, soap and oral care products, but both had begun to see the growing attraction of the personal products sector. Procter & Gamble's presence in this market was modest, limited mainly to its Ivory soap, but Unilever was already a major force in hair care and deodorant, and attempted to develop this presence in 1984 with a hostile bid for American company Richardson Vicks International (RVI). Although this business was primarily involved in OTC medications, it also managed a modest portfolio of niche personal care products including Olay, as well as the Pantene and Vidal Sassoon shampoo brands. Unhappy about the overture from a foreign buyer, RVI sought protection from P&G. The main appeal to P&G of RVI was its Vicks brand, which fitted neatly with the healthcare group Norwich Eaton, which the US group had acquired a year earlier. As a result P&G was persuaded at short notice to top Unilever's offer with its own bid of $1.2bn.
Completed in 1985, it was at the time P&G's biggest ever acquisition, but it greatly the strengthened the group's senior management team, and also gave P&G significant additional operations in Europe and Asia. At first, P&G appeared unsure how to develop its newly acquired hair and skin care brands, but gradually set about applying research and development resources to the products. A series of additional acquisitions further strengthened the portfolio. In 1987, P&G acquired German group Blendax, followed by Noxell, which owned Cover Girl cosmetics and Noxsema, in 1989. P&G took its first steps into the fragrance market in 1990 when it announced the purchase of Shulton, then the male toiletries division of diversified conglomerate American Cynamid. Its products included a range of shaving lotions led by Old Spice, then the biggest mass-market men's after-shave in the US. Max Factor and German cosmetics Ellen Betrix brand were purchased from Revlon in 1991
More recently the portfolio has been rounded out with two major acquisitions in the hair care market, Clairol and Wella. Attempts to strengthen the skin care unit with the purchase of Nivea from Beiersdorf proved less successful. Attempts to extend Olay into colour cosmetics also failed to take off. Among other experiments, P&G was one of the backers of internet-only "custom beauty" cosmetics brand reflect.com between 1999 and 2005, and in 2004 the company handled for a time marketing and distribution of the ethnic cosmetics range designed by supermodel Iman. see full profile for current activities
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