ProctEr & Gamble is seeking to re-brand and re-market their “legacy products” like Tide laundry products, Gillette razors, Crest toothpaste, Vicks cold medicine and others.

They do this, however, in a traditionally half-hearted way, all the while complaining about the high level of competition and the changes in advertising and marketing. Randy Merrill, a retired lawyer and Procter & Gamble stockholder, relates that he was loyal to Gillette razors until a few years ago when he tried a Schick 5-bladed razor and found that it shaved much better than the Gillette 3-blade.  So, he switched brands.  The take-away for P&G should be to do market research, hear more of these stories, find out what people want, and, then, upgrade products.  Who’s to say that Gillette can’t produce a 5-bladed razor that competes in shaving quality with Schick?  The company has tried to “solve” their branding problems by attempting to buy Phizer’s Consumer-Health business for a $10 billion price tag which would have added vitamins, Advil, ChapStick, and other products to the company’s brands.  It’s always surprising to learn that, rather than actually spending the money on re-branding and re-constituting their legacy products and, consequently, making them attractive to new generations of buyers, the company decides that the way to go is to buy some other products.  How obtuse – think what $10 billion in advertising would have done for the likes of Tide!   Companies with legacy products among their offerings really do need to decide to do more for the products that they’re fortunate enough to have in their entourage, rather than try to purchase more buying power.  P&G contends that things are turning around for them – citing more Millennials being drawn to their big-name brands and higher levels of online sales.  We’ll watch and see – it all depends on whether the company can actually decide to support its brands.


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