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Procter & Gamble is a giant in household products, for several decades until recently the world's biggest advertiser, and the company which defined many of the marketing strategies which we now take for granted. It was the first company to advertise nationally direct to US consumers (in 1880) and it literally created the concept of "soap opera" by sponsoring radio and television dramas targeting women. Other inventions included the first Fluoride-based toothpaste (Crest), the revolutionary synthetic detergent Tide, and the first mass-marketed disposable diaper (Pampers). Yet P&G found life in the final years of the 20th century more difficult than it had expected, with earnings below expectations and a series of management shake-ups as a result of under-performance. New CEO AG Lafley got the group back on track during 2002 with the purchases of Clairol and Wella and a renewed focus on core products. Following dynamic performance in 2003 and 2004, P&G demonstrated the strength of its recovery a year later with the acquisition of legendary personal care rival Gillette. The next few years delivered strong growth, and a push into prestige beauty. However Lafley's retirement in 2009 prefaced another slowdown in performance from which it took almost a decade for the group to fully emerge. In 2013, in a surprise development, the board brought Lafley out of retirement in the hope that he could persuade lightning to strike twice. Two years later, that hadn't happened, and Lafley passed over control to rising star David Taylor, who oversaw the sale of a large collection of high-end beauty products (including several of Lafley's acquisitions) to Coty. However, performance was still slow to improve. Finally, during 2020 the group managed to shake off most of its past problems with its best financial performance for more than a decade. Ironically, the devastating impact of the Covid pandemic paid dividends for P&G with a surge in sales of cleaning and homecare products which continued into 2022. With the group now apparently back to full strength, Taylor stepped down as CEO at the end of 2021, to be succeeded by Jon Moeller. Revenues for the year ending Jun 2022 came in at $80.2bn, with net income of $14.7bn. All the group's operating divisions reported an increase. However, P&G warned that growth would slow significantly during the second half of 2022 as a result of inflationary and recessionary pressures.
Capsule checked 6th January 2021
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Historical profile information for Procter & Gamble
Adbrands Daily Update 30th Jul 2021: In a surprise announcement, Procter & Gamble said that David Taylor will step down as CEO in November in favour of COO and former CFO Jon Moeller. Taylor will continue for an additional period as executive chairman. Moeller will in turn be replaced as COO by Shailesh Jejurikar, currently CEO of fabric & home care. A new leader of that department will be appointed in due course.
Adbrands Daily Update 5th May 2021: "Love Leads To Good". As the countdown to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics belatedly begins, Procter & Gamble launches its corporate sponsorship campaign for the Games, led once again by Wieden & Kennedy. I'm sure I don't need to tell you by now but this extended anthem film is definitely a four-hankie job. There will be tears, my friend. As before, W&K focus on the binding relationship between athletes and their mothers, who provide all those essential years of support and love - sometimes a bit of tough love - that transform any sportsperson from competitor to potential champion. Fine, fine work, as we have come to expect from this lifelong Gold medallist among creative agencies.
Adbrands Daily Update 19th Apr 2021: "It's Our Home". Few advertisers are spending as much on corporate diversity and sustainability marketing campaigns as Procter & Gamble. After a succession of powerful diversity ads championing minority rights, the packaged goods giant now turns its attention again to environmental issues with this fine (even if slightly twee) spot from Saatchi & Saatchi. Yes, I hear you say, and so they should be doing considering they are one of the world's biggest manufacturers of plastic packaging. Well, they hear you say it as well, and to their credit they are investing more in recycling programs (many in partnership with TerraCycle) than many of their peers. Of course, the impetus really has to come from consumers, and however cutesy this ad might be, it probably gets the message across more effectively to ordinary people than a finger-wagging lecture from experts.
Adbrands Daily Update 31st Mar 2021: "Widen The Screen". All credit to Procter & Gamble for putting its full weight behind the drive to improve equality opportunities for the African American community. The packaged goods giant has a strong track record for consistently highlighting issues of inequality within American society with a series of similar ads in recent years. Now, Grey New York adds a powerful new argument to the mix, calling for a more balanced portrayal of Black life in America instead of the usual dramatic stereotypes. It coincides with the launch of a new P&G-backed initiative to encourage filmmakers and creative artists from minority groups. "While we've made equality a top priority within P&G and worked with other companies to do the same, we recognize that is just not enough," says P&G chief brand officer Marc Pritchard. "We have to address the systemic inequalities that exist in our industry, and that's why 'Widen The Screen' is a critically important initiative, not just for P&G, but for the industry. In stepping up and levelling the playing field for Black creators, we will enable change that will benefit all under-represented groups and result in higher quality, more relevant film, television and advertising content that deepens our appreciation of the richness of our society."
Adbrands Daily Update 31st Jul 2020: Procter & Gamble reported its best set of annual results since before the credit crisis, enjoying a strong lift across several sectors in the final quarter from lockdown panic-buying. An increase of 5% in reported annual sales (6% organic) to $71.0bn was the best yearsly increase since 2006, while net income more than tripled to $13.1bn. The previous year was impacted by a huge write-off against Gillette and other shaving brands. That business was still suffering in the most recent financial year as the popularity of beards continued to rise. It was the only reporting division to report a year-on-year decline in sales, down 2%, while other units enjoyed increases ranging from 3% in Baby, Fem & Family to 10% in Health Care.
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