For much of its history, Procter & Gamble (PG) didn’t just launch new products, it created new product categories, from the first mass-produced disposable diapers to Crest fluoride toothpaste. Yet, P&G’s most recent homegrown hits—Swiffer cleaners, Crest Whitestrips, and Febreze odor eliminators—were all launched at least a decade ago.
1879: Ivory The mild white soap was positioned as a competitor to olive oil-based Castile soaps. Its ability to float was a selling point. Its name is from a Bible verse picked by a P&G founder’s son.
The first all-vegetable shortening (a rival to animal fat or butter) changed the way Americans cooked.
P&G makes the first synthetic household detergent. That paved the way for Tide, which became America’s No. 1 by 1950.
The first fluoride toothpaste clinically proven to fight cavities. A nod from a dental group five years later was a marketing coup. Crest’s popularity later helped turn its teeth whiteners into a billion-dollar business.
After its disposable diapers flopped in their first test market, P&G refined the product. It became a hit—speeding cloth diapers’ fall. In June, Pampers—the world’s No. 1 diaper—became P&G’s first brand with more than $10 billion in annual sales.
Stackable chips make their debut. Their shape and the resealable can were big innovations for a snack.
The odor eliminator enters test markets. It’s a hit for everything from smelly gym shoes to motorcycle helmets in Vietnam.
The time-saving cleaning system, which can replace a broom, a mop, a dust mop, or a duster, went global in 18 months. Swiffer’s real magic is that it uses refills, guaranteeing P&G a stream of future sales.