Procter & Gamble’s largest brand is Pampers, with annual net sales of more than $8 billion—and it’s still growing. During the past year, Pampers more than doubled its market share in China, relaunched Pampers Easy Ups in India and launched Pampers Pure Collection to favorable consumer response.
It’s also introducing new pricing and pushing innovation to help boost revenue and market share, which boosts P&G’s bottom line while shoring up its coffers to make an impact.
As P&G CEO David Taylor commented to analysts on its Q4 2018 earnings call on July 31, “New premium-tier innovation and new pack sizes are launching this quarter that include a price increase on most items, equivalent to a 4% increase across the North America Pampers diaper business.”
That premium-tier innovation includes its Pampers Pure Collection, a recent example of this legacy brand’s commitment to sustainability and staying attuned to its customers and taking market risks to deliver a satisfactory user experience.
The new line, released earlier this year, features all-natural ingredients with no chlorine bleaching, fragrances, parabens or latex. Developed by a team including Pampers scientist Sara Giovanni, the collection was particularly personal to her. “I spent my days creating and testing new diapers,” she stated. “Then, I became a mom—to preemie twins.”
Sensitive to growing consumer consciousness about sustainability, the Pampers Pure Collection improves the brand’s environmental footprint across its supply chain, from sourcing to manufacturing with chlorine-free fluff pulp, to certification by the Forest Stewardship Council and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification forest management standards.
Notre collaboratrice a testé la nouvelle collection #PureMoments de @Pampers @PampersPure, son verdict: des couches jetables sans compromis! Découvrez pourquoi ici: https://t.co/Y0SSH6cyeb#bancdessai #famille #trouvaillesdejulie #couche pic.twitter.com/tIrQXifcXD
— Julie Philippon (@Mamanbooh) June 19, 2018
Pampers and Social Impact
P&G’s Pampers brand has a long-standing history of doing the right thing, with a long-running partnership with UNICEF creating a model for public-private partnerships. Now in its 12th year, the 1 Pack = 1 Vaccine program, launched in 2004, with phases including a 2006 kick-off in the UK and an expansion in Western Europe.
The goal was simple—to eradicate MNT, or maternal and neo-natal tetanus, in developing nations. Actress/producer Salma Hayek was spokesperson for the global Pampers/UNICEF campaign launch.
At the 2016 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, Pampers and UNICEF announced that their partnership had helped eliminate MNT in 17 countries, saving the lives of an estimated 500,000 newborns and protecting 100 million women and their babies from the deadly disease. The 1 Pack = 1 Vaccine campaign combined raising funds and raising awareness about the disease.
According to a case study published by Oxford’s Said Business School that was published in the Harvard Business Review, four key factors created a successful partnership between P&G/Pampers and UNICEF—and created a working model for other P&G partnerships with the United Nations, and other commercial partners working with the UN:
• The promotion builds on the sympathies between a broad-based consumer audience and a cohort of recipients who share a powerful similarity of experience.
•The aligned content between the two brands makes a distinctive competitive message that connects cause, consumer, and choice.
•A strong not-for-profit name benefitted both the private and public good.
•The promise was simple, the messaging clear, and the outcome accountable.
As the HBR article put it, “The lines between public and private–and between business and philanthropy–are getting blurrier, yet the examples of true “win-win” efforts are still very few. P&G and UNICEF have built a model that could tackle many difficult issues facing mothers around the world. With luck, other organizations will use this success as a template for further innovation.”
More recently, Pampers has supported UNICEF’s First 1,000 Days initiative in South Africa, partnering with the country’s largest Supermarket Chain, Pick n Pay to help raise R1 million. For every Pampers product purchased at any Pick n Pay store nationwide, Pampers donated R10 to UNICEF. The initiative focuses on the critical first 1,000 days of life between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday, the period for optimum health and development.
As UNICEF notes, “Ending preventable newborn deaths and stillbirths is a moral imperative. It also contributes to healthier, more prosperous societies: the first month of life is a foundational period for lifelong health and development. Healthy babies grow into healthy adults who can thrive and contribute to their communities and societies.”
It’s all consistent with P&G’s larger corporate citizenship commitment. “In P&G, every day we work to be a force for good and a force for growth,” stated Elena Kudryashova, P&G’s VP for South East Europe at the time, who was later appointed VP of Baby Care for P&G China.
“We’ve seen that consumers care about the company behind the brands they purchase and use. They want to know that the products they are buying come from a trusted source and we’re working to build on that trust every single day. Citizenship work comes together—across brands, employees, operations and business partners—to make meaningful differences in people’s lives.”
“What you have to have is the brand consumers prefer, because then retailers want to carry it because it builds the basket,” stated P&G CEO Taylor in July.
“If we’re doing our job and have the innovation, it comes at the expense of somebody else. It’s one of the reasons you have to watch in the middle without a distinctive positioning in a brand that’s meaningfully different to consumers. It is the reason why we believe that I think retailers will continue to put more emphasis, in many of the cases, on the retailer brands, and we can accelerate our growth.”
From Rochester to the World
It all began in 1956 with P&G researcher Victor Mills, who disliked changing the cloth diapers of his newborn grandchild and charged his team with inventing a disposable replacement. 37,000 diapers were hand-sewn for the Rochester, NY test market in 1959, followed by the first machine-made product test marketed in Peoria, Illinois, in 1961.
That year Pampers launched at 10 cents per diaper with the slogan, “Instead of a DIAPER… Pampers.”