It begins with listening – it starts with people

Irwin Lee, Vice President and Managing Director, P&G UK and Ireland

Whether it’s a better shave for more than a billion men or a better shampoo for itchy scalps all around the world; a marketing campaign that helps teenage girls in Africa stay in school or a social media movement that catapults a brand to market leadership; everything we do starts with our consumer. Listening to them, understanding their needs and aspirations, spending time with them in their homes, with their families and when they’re both choosing and using our products. This is our inspiration.

P&G’s purpose as a company is to touch and improve the lives of consumers all around the world and we expect each brand to be guided by this. It’s the soul of the brand that defines why it uniquely exists in people’s lives. People pay for a benefit but they buy into a purpose.

Achieving this requires deep human insights that define behaviour. Insights that reflect human truths, motivations and tensions that must be resolved by the benefit of our brands. These insights inspire big ideas; ideas that make our brands and their benefits more relevant, more credible and more important in people’s lives because they touch on how that brand makes everyday life a little bit better.

Here’s just a few of the biggest ideas from P&G this year and how they’re making a difference in people’s lives, every day, all around the world.

Providing a better shave for more than a billion men

In India, nearly half a billion men still shave with a century-old technology - the double-edge razor - because there is no better affordable alternative. Many of these men shave without running water and often with a handheld mirror, an intense, tedious and time-consuming process that can easily result in nicks and cuts. Market immersion was critical for providing a safe, high-quality shave at an affordable price for more than one billion men in emerging markets. A multi-functional innovation team spent thousands of hours with consumers in India and other emerging markets. Thousands of men helped to shape a new product – participating in interviews, in-home visits, ‘shop alongs’ and test shaves to fine tune the razor’s performance. Launched in 2010, Gillette Guard is one of the most significant product launches in Gillette’s 110-year history. Designed as a completely new concept for men in emerging markets, the razor system provides the perfect combination of safety, ease and affordability. Consumer testing shows that men in India prefer Gillette Guard 6-1 versus double edge razors, 74% tell us it guarantees fewer nicks and cuts, and 75% feel safer using Gillette Guard than double-edge razors.

Touching more lives through social media

Men aren’t impressed with body washes and deodorants that make them smell like fruit and flowers. And women—who purchase 60% of these products for them—don’t want them to smell that way either. Old Spice had the products men wanted—and that women wanted for their men. But getting their attention was anything but easy. Until we discovered a big idea: “Hello, ladies!” We created the Old Spice “Smell Like a Man, Man” campaign—a movement that would catapult the brand onto the social media stage and earn unprecedented acclaim and business results. The brand cast Isaiah Mustafa as a charismatic and suave character to convince both men and women to choose the manly scent of Old Spice body wash and deodorant over ‘lady scented’ brands. The campaign first launched in North America in February 2010, just before the Super Bowl. In addition to improving the everyday lives of men who are navigating through the seas of manhood, the ‘Smell Like a Man, Man’ campaign has gained global recognition, winning more awards than any single P&G brand campaign in history at the 2011 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Providing hygiene and education in Africa

Five hundred million women—and one out of every five teens on the planet—live in Africa. Today, millions of these girls and women still do not use pads for protection during their periods. But this is changing. Through a holistic campaign, Always is improving the lives of these women and girls across this vast and diverse continent. One element of the campaign expands Always distribution, improving the commercial availability of Always not just in big capital cities, but also in some smaller towns and rural areas. Another element includes a puberty education program conducted in partnership with local public education and health organizations. Always is improving the lives of African girls in ways that go beyond the benefits of hygiene alone. Currently, many girls in Africa miss school during their period because they lack awareness of and access to proper sanitary protection. This can impact their chance to complete their education and succeed in life. By providing access to puberty education and sanitary protection with Always, we are able to improve the everyday lives of girls across Africa.

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Irwin Lee
Vice President and Managing Director, P&G UK and Ireland

Gillette Guard - a new shaving experience

  • Within three months of launch, Gillette Guard was the best-selling razor in India
  • Consumer testing shows Indian men prefer Gillette Guard 6:1 versus double-edge razors
  • Today, more than half of the razors sold in India are Gillette Guard

Old Spice - creating a digital movement

  • Since launch, the campaign has generated 33 million YouTube views and 4 billion total impressions
  • Within 3 months, volume of Old Spice body wash was up 40% and is now at an all-time high for the brand
  • The success in North America is being replicated in other parts of the world, including the UK & Ireland


  • Always distribution has now reached 450,000 outlets in Africa
  • The Always programme includes sampling activities in classrooms and mobile clinics to teach girls about puberty, the basics of feminine hygiene and sanitary protection
  • The programme reaches more than 3 million African girls and women each year

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