October 12, 2000
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Procter & Gamble Italy: ThePringles Launch (A)
We can’t run aground now, not after all the work we’ve done. The Global Business
Unit (GBU) understands our vision; they haven’t criticized a thing. But they’re asking us to
decide which route needs to be taken. We’ve been examining the various alternatives for
months now: the time has come to make a decision. What should our launch strategy be? The
GBU is waiting for our finalconclusions, and there’s no time to lose if we want to be on the
market in eight months’ time. Let’s wrap up the work we’ve been doing; first thing Monday
morning, we meet and decide.
It was a hot Friday in August 1998 when Paola Aruta, marketing director for P&G in charge
of the work team formed for the Pringles launch, wrapped up the meeting with this exhortation and
left the meetingroom.
Emanuele Carando, brand manager for the new product, picked up the heavy file of
materials relating to the project and headed towards his office with a worried expression on his face.
He had been on the project from the very start, and felt more involved than the others. Carando
believed in the ideas that the team had developed, but to alter the strategy that the GBU had
provided them withwould mean a major change in direction: that strategy had worked for almost 10
years now, in 20 different markets. “Was it really possible, he thought, “that—as usual—we Italians
are so different from the others?”
Once back at his desk, Carando sat down, lost in thought, and looked wearily at the pile of
documents that been accumulating as the project went ahead. He had read and analyzedeverything
in that pile at least a thousand times . . . and now he was going to have to do it again. With a sigh, he
listlessly opened the first folder: it was the research study on Italian eating trends.
Absentmindedly, Carando opened a tube of Pringles that had been left on his desk and began
munching on a handful of chips. Bit by bit, his mood began to change. “Hmm . . .,” he thought tohimself, “it’s true; they really do put you in a good mood.”
Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble (P&G) was founded in 1837 in Cincinnati, Ohio. With innovative strategy
and an intimate understanding of consumer needs, this small family-run concern was to become one
of the world’s most important consumer-goods businesses. By 1999, P&G was distributing more than
300 brands to more than five billionconsumers in 140 different countries, generating total sales of
601-070 Procter & Gamble Italy: The Pringles Launch (A)
more than 38 billion dollars and providing jobs to some 110,000 employees. It had become the leader
in numerous market sectors: from detergents to household cleaning products, from personal
healthcare and beauty to pharmaceutical products, from paper manufacture to foodproducts.
One of the major capabilities underlying P&G’s success was its ability to link the multiple
technologies acquired by the company over time in order to create innovative, highly original
Since its founding, the company’s continued determination to launch new products—and to
improve the existing ones—had been the real key to its success. In fact, by 1999 the company was...