Scrambling to Bring Crest to the Masses

As growth in Chinese cities slows, P&G sets its sights on 700 million rural consumers

You might not expect Gong Jianchen to be much of a brand aficionado. The 45-year-old father of two drives a truck, delivering pots, pans, and appliances from his hometown of Qiaoliufan, a sleepy little village in northern China where farmers ride their bikes in from the surrounding wheat fields to do their daily shopping. But just ask Gong about his favorite toothpaste or shampoo, and he turns rhapsodic. "Our family buys both Head & Shoulders and Rejoice, and Crest is good for brushing teeth," he says, reaching for the products as he shops. "Quality, at a reasonable price, is most important."

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