Procter & Gamble’s 28 Brands That Matter Most

In a discussion about whether Episcopalians believe in purgatory, our parish priest asked us to consider our actions, what we practice. Regularly, we pray for the departed, and if we pray for them, and are serious about it, it means that we believe, by what we do, that we think that these folks have not yet arrived, but still need some intercession. Hence, we believe in a sort of purgatory, though most protestant church doctrine disagrees.

What does this have to do with Procter & Gamble? By their practices, we can see which brands are in favor. Looking at which brands seem to be a priority for them is a good indication of figuring out a first and second tier. This is of interest because in recent years, P&G has dumped a number of classic brands, and others, like Camay, seem to be in jeopardy. While decades ago P&G used to create its own brands and then market the heck out of them, P&G seems now to be more interested in buying other brands and merging them into its fold.

P&G does regular culling of its brand list. A 1950s list of products shows brands that include Drene, Lilt and Pin It. There are a large number of “classically” P&G brands that are no longer part of the fold. These include Sure, Gleem, Prell, Spic n Span, Oxydol, Comet, Biz, Wondra (hand lotion, not flour), Lava and Jif. In addition, there are brands like Right Guard that became part of P&G through purchases like Gillette. These also have been sold.

We looked at a recent coupon circular that arrived in the mail. It is a coupon-zine, with pictures of particularly handsome families enjoying P&G products. (See above for first page). One odd practice in the product lineup; the company seems to be combining two brands on one package, such as Cover Girl and Olay. It’s a quite annoying practice (seen more and more) that dilutes the value of each brand as a separate idea, though we guess it provides for a quickie sales boost, which helps the bottom line immediately.

Brands mentioned in the supplement were, in order of appearance:

  1. Cascade
  2. Dawn
  3. Downy
  4. Tide
  5. Bounce
  6. Bounty
  7. Mr. Clean
  8. Febreze
  9. Swiffer
  10. Charmin
  11. Pampers
  12. Crest
  13. Olay
  14. Cover Girl
  15. Clairol Nice ‘n Easy
  16. Pantene
  17. Secret
  18. Venus
  19. Head & Shoulders
  20. Tampax
  21. Always
  22. Gillette
  23. Align
  24. Pur
  25. Prilosec OTC
  26. Pepto Bismol
  27. Pringles
  28. Duracell

Of course, that leaves very many brands that weren’t mentioned that have been traditionally associated with P&G on its soap operas and such. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to be dropped or de-accessioned by P&G, only that they are ones that are not getting top attention and coupon resources in this effort. Ones that weren’t in the circular include:

  1. Ivory: Sad not to see this one on its list, as it was P&G’s first product, but it seems that in recent years, it has not been a priority, with virtually no national advertising.
  2. Camay: This was once a great brand, but it has suffered with a lack of attention from P&G with all of their interest in Olay. It nevertheless has an old-school, classic aura.
  3. Zest: This was once a product that people who lived in rural areas loved. Stylish, but practical as the soap film was not a problem where the water was soft. Interesting that the website does not show a bar of soap, only liquid body wash.
  4. Scope: This one wasn’t on the list of top brands? Hmmm.
  5. Bold: A detergent. For the life of me I do not recall what was different about Bold.
  6. Era, which I believe was a high-concentrate detergent that some folks with allergies liked.
  7. Oral B: This was a Gillette toothbrush brand; apparently it was used by the astronauts on the moon. It has always been a no-nonsense brand supported by dentists.
  8. Herbal Essence(s): This was part of P&G’s purchase of Clairol. The Clairol name is no longer connected with it.
  9. Iams, the high end dog food.
  10. Joy: Another classic P&G brand.
  11. Old Spice (hey P&G, the Shulton is missing from the bottles!)
  12. Vicks (actually, P&G has done alot of work with this one so
    surprised not to see it on the list). Glad they finally separated it from Chloraseptic.
  13. Eukanuba
  14. Puffs
  15. Glide, the brand of floss once made by Gore-Tex.
  16. Metamucil
  17. Safeguard
  18. Assorted perfume brands such as Lacoste. We wonder why P&G is in this business?

Then there are some brands that seem to be part of the P&G fold, but are made by others. These include Pert and Ivory Snow.

Would love some reader comments on this brand portfolio.


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.


  1. It’s “Procter”, not “Proctor”.

  2. Upon browsing P&G’s Wikipedia article today, I just found out Procter & Gamble sold the Zest soap products to a start-up company called High Range Brands a couple of months ago. With Zest gone, could Camay, Safeguard or even Ivory be next? Just wondering.

  3. On the subject of immigrant communities rechercher, I stopped into a Smart and Final grocery store here in L.A. They carry Ariel laundry detergent made by P & G in Mexico as well as Roma and Foca detergents made in Mexico by Corona. Here’s a link Powder detergent in plastic bags seem to dominate the Mexican detergent market. Great placement since Smart and Final is predominantly a walk in food service supplier open to the public. Here in Cali, recently immigrated Mexican Americans and Mexican Nationals make up a large part of the kitchen staff here. I don’t get the plastic bags though. Many poor immigrants have to go to a laundry room or laundromat. Why not put powdered detergent in a durable but inexpensive resealable container with a scoop?

    And, P & G’s BOLD is back in Cali. I saw a small box of Bold powder at my local Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse this past weekend.

  4. Here’s an update on bar soap: at a local grocery chain yesterday, in addition to the usual Dove and Dial products, I saw Safeguard, Zest, Camay (a three-bar pack) , Irish Spring, two kinds of Ivory (agree that the current packaging is blah), Coast. Those are the ones I remember–there were several more as well. Could be that this is a location that serves a healthy international immigrant population in our refugee-resettlement community and shoppers could be requesting these brands.. Our household does not use bar soap (unless it’s glycerin), but it’s nice to see that so many varieties of a product are still offered in some stores. It can be done!

  5. Ralph’s super markets, owned by Kroger, Inc. has ERA on it’s shelves here in So Calif for the first time in a long time. Era 50 ounce liquid is $2.00 less than 50 Oz. of Tide, Cheer or Gain.

  6. What about Tame Creme Rinse? Does anyone out there remember
    it? The best conditioner ever.

  7. Safeguard seems to be available at and I’ve bought it here in California. Cheer is still on
    store shelves in Cali, too. I’ve seeen Zest at the 99 Cents Only
    stores. The Safeguard bars I bought were marked “made in Mexico”.
    Bold has a UK website. P & G
    market Bold in Japan, the UK and Latin America. Two thoughts. Many
    legacy barnds that seem dead in the USA are alive and well on other
    continents. Example: “Cold Power” laundry detergent is sold in
    Austrailia. And, brands like Zest and Safeguard may become P
    & G’s “dollar store” brands. Are American’s shopping more
    at dollar stores? If so, P & G may want a piece of that
    marketplace before Colgate or the private brands take too much of P
    & G’s business away.

  8. Isn’t the current strategy at these companies with the huge brand portfolios to have fewer brand names, but more brand extension? Hence the effort to put “Febreze” scents in everything; they’re advertising some tooth product “with Scope ingredients,” and there are scores of different variations on Pantene (which was a luxury brand when it first came out, before it was absorbed into P&G). And as for Tide–there is an entire side of the laundry aisle at Target that is all variations on Tide (which I personally do not use and never will, I just don’t like it). Haven’t seen Safeguard, Zest, Joy, Bold or Era in stores for years–but you can buy 20 different formulations of Dawn.

  9. Great article! I have been concerned that a few of my
    favorite longtime P&G products are in a state of jeopardy:
    Camay, Ivory and Gleem. Firstly, I have only been able to buy Camay
    by the case from online sources for the past year or so. I ordered
    another case of 48 bars of pink Camay just the other day. The scent
    is the same beautiful, French-type perfume scent that I remember
    from many years ago. The packaging has changed however from the
    cameo lady logo printed on a foil-like paper to a red cardboard box
    with some kind of squiggle logo of something that remotely looks
    like a profile of a Godess or something. It’s not as identifiable
    as the lady cameo which was a mainstay of Camay for many years. Why
    would P&G decide not to continue using the classic lady
    cameo logo in favor of some odd squiggle logo? The new generation
    of marketing executives at P&G would be wise to reinstate
    the lady cameo logo on Camay packaging and reinstate the elegant
    foil-like paper packaging, adding perhaps the words “original,
    luxurious, pink Camay”, since the consumers now look toward luxury
    in many products – adding the word luxurious would entice many a
    customer and especially at the price for a bar of Camay it would
    certainly be affordable luxury at just about $1.50 per bar. The New
    York Times ran an article on pink Camay on November 28, 2010
    wherein Camay still has legions of buyers who love Camay and are
    willing to buy it by the case online if that is what it comes down
    to in finding it – but wouldn’t it be wiser if P&G also
    promoted it in stores again, too? It’s a great product. If anyone
    at P&G reads this I hope they will consider that pink Camay
    has a lot of life left in it and needs her lady cameo and foil-like
    classic packaging back to regain market share. Next, Ivory soap is
    another favorite I’ve been buying for three decades. It can still
    be found in grocery stores but I’ve noticed that it has less shelf
    space than it used to. It’s such a great soap, so gentle and mild
    that it hardly has any competition at all and P&G could
    capitalize on that. One of the problems I see with Ivory these days
    is the fact that the packaging has become almost generic. The dull
    white paper with faint, dismal grey color lettering (could anything
    be more depressing?) is not appropriate. Where is the bright, shiny
    white paper packaging with the bright blue waves and bold navy blue
    IVORY lettering that once was during the 1970s and 80s? That made
    the product easily identifiable. And what about the line on each
    package that stated 99 44/100% so pure it floats? That line was a
    very successful catchphrase for decades. Hopefully the blue color
    waves and tag line will both be reinstated on the packaging. Next
    is Gleem toothpaste – I do find it now and then at the drug store
    but sometimes it’s just out of stock for weeks. I did have to buy a
    case of it online last month since it doesn’t seem to be readily
    available as it used to be in the store. As far as Prell shampoo, I
    was surprised that P&G sold it off several years ago. I
    found it recently at a drug store and the scent is the same one I
    remember but it’s made by another company now and I had to look
    twice to see if it really was Prell because the lettering is so far
    off from the Prell script that I remember that I wasn’t sure if it
    was even the same great shampoo. Finally, I do remember Bold
    laundry powder and the product had a jingle to the effect of “He’s
    the bold one, he’s the one we want, Bold can make the bold one
    bright” as it showed the messy, active boy having his shirt come
    out of the washer clean and bright from using Bold. I believe Bold
    had color brightners that would keep colors bright even the
    messiest dirt would wash out and the colors would remain clean and
    bright – that’s my recollection.

  10. Vincent…Of course, you are right about Gleem. I think I occasionally see it at Dollar Tree. And good point about Cheer.

  11. As far as I know, I have not heard anything about P&G selling off Gleem (It is still listed as a P&G brand on the Wiki site). You also forgot to mention Cheer detergent, which I wouldn’t be surprised to see P&G put on the block, since it’s been awhile since I’ve seen any kind of promotion for that particular product.

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