Procter and Gamble Case Study
An insight on why P&Gs logo change in the 1980s was the right move
Section B-PGDM General 2011-13
The case in brief
• Rumours of P&G involvement in Satanism emerge in the 1970s.
• Came in two cycles. 1981-82 and 1984-85
• Rumours surfaced immediately after P&G introduced the tool free no. system to address customer complaints
• First rumour claimed that the company was owned by the Church of Satan because the logo of P&G that was more than a 100 years old portrayed a half moon and 13 stars symbolising Satanism.
• By 1981 a second rumour circulated which claimed that John Smale, President & CEO had appeared on the Phil Donahue Show or a similar one and claimed that he was a member of the Church of Satan.
• Toll free lines were flooded with retailers and customers and the sales were declining.
• P&G sent fact sheets clarifying their stand to 48,000 churches in Southern USA and also sought the aid of clergy to support them
• They also obtained statements form TV channels vouching for the company through a concentrated effort by the PR team
• The rumours reduced subsequently but then there was another sudden spurt by late 1984 and then tripled in October
• These claims came from around the country and P&G sent out media information kits explaining the history of the logo
• A security team was engaged to trace the rumours source and pattern, even threatening to sue those spreading the story.
• By 1985 the problem had gotten out of control and P&G were forced into a position where they had to change to logo.
• Experts believed that it was the right decision although hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on squashing the rumour and convincing the customers and retailers
• Finally, although the company lost an 100 year old heritage but it has risen from the ashes FMCG market .
Background of P & G
← Fortune 500 American multinational corporation headquartered in Downtown Cincinnati, Ohio[2
← Started by William Proctor ( he was a candle maker ) and James Gamble a soap maker.
← On October 31, 1837, Procter & Gamble was incorporated
← During the American Civil War, the company won contracts to supply the Union Army with soap and candles.
← In the 1880s, Procter & Gamble began to market a new product, an inexpensive soap that floats in water. The company called the soap ivory
← Became an international corporation with its 1930 acquisition of the Thomas Hedley Co.,
← The company introduced "Tide “laundry detergent in 1946 and Prell" shampoo in 1947. In 1955, Procter & Gamble began selling the first toothpaste to contain fluoride, known as "Crest".
← Branching out once again in 1957, the company purchased Charmin Paper Mills and began manufacturing toilet paper and other paper products. Once again focusing on laundry,
← Procter & Gamble began making "Downy fabric softener in 1960 and "Bounce" fabric softener sheets in 1972.
The Logo of P&G
P&G's former logo originated in 1851 as crude cross that barge workers on the Ohio River painted on cases of P&G star candles to identify them. P&G later altered this symbol into a trademark that showed a man in the moon overlooking 13 stars, said to commemorate the original 13 colonies]
The company received unwanted media publicity in the 1980s when rumours spread that the moon-and-stars logo was a satanic symbol. The accusation was based on a particular passage in the Bible. The three curls were said to be a mirror image of the number 666, or the reflected number of the beast. At the top and bottom, the hair curls in on itself, and was said to be the two horns like those of a ram that represented the false prophet.
P &G changed the logo in 1981 regarding the controversy it was facing...
References: Wikipedia – Procter and Gamble, God Bless America
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