We guarantee you’ve used at least two Procter & Gamble products today. Did you brush your teeth or wash your hands? Then yup, you probably qualify.
Even though they dominate your life now, P&G took a long time to become the wonder brand they are today. The path to success took a lot of creativity and innovation.
P&G invented branding in the 19th century; since then it has acquired products and companies like wildfire, from Cover Girl to Pepto Bismol.
Here’s how the little soap and candle shop transformed itself into a global giant.
William Procter and James Gamble, brothers-in-law from Cincinnati, became business partners on a suggestion from their wives' father.
A candle and soap maker respectively, the men decided to combine their crafts to form the Procter & Gamble Company. By the late 1850s, they reached $1 million in sales and had about 80 employees.
After five years of research and development, P&G introduced Crest toothpaste.
The new fluoride-based formula claimed to help fight cavities better than any other brand. In 1960, the American Dental Association endorsed the brand and by the end of the next year, Crest replaced Colgate as the number one brand. This milestone solidified P&G's place in the toiletries industry.
Procter & Gamble spearheaded the mass production of disposable diapers by introducing Pampers to households everywhere.
P&G engineer Victor Mills came up with the idea after his grandson was born. Mills, like many other consumers, had grown tired of messy cloth diapers and spent years trying to figure out an easier way to get the job done.
Technically, P&G had been helping dinners get made since the very beginning when it sold lard for cooking. And In 1911, it began selling Crisco, the first all-vegetable shortening--an instant hit!
The company really took over kitchens, though, in the mid-20th century with Jif peanut butter (1956) and Folgers coffee (1963). Pringles, one of P&G's only remaining food products, was introduced in 1968. Once you pop...
PG added Pepto Bismol and Chloraspetic to its rapidly growing family when it acquired Norwich-Eaton Pharmaceuticals in 1982.
Then, in 1985, the company bought Richardson-Vicks, the makers of Vicks and Nyquil, for $1.2 billion (its largest purchase yet), as well as the brands Dramamine and Metamucil.
These purchases solidified P&G's place in drug stores everywhere.
In 1989, Procter & Gamble entered the makeup market when it bought Noxell, the company that makes CoverGirl and Noxema, in a $1.34 billion deal.
Then, in 1991, it scoops Max Factor and Betrix from Revlon. Though P&G acquired Pantene hair products in the '85 Richardson-Vicks deal, it wasn't until the '90s that it became a billion-dollar brand.
A successful marketing campaign helped make the product a beauty essential, rather than a functional cleaning device.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.