Chapter Three

Where to Play

For decades, Bounty was a stalwart brand for P&G. From the 1970s to the 1990s, television commercials featuring Nancy Walker as a diner waitress (and paper towel aficionado) named Rosie established the paper towel brand in the hearts and minds of consumers. The ads’ tagline—“The quicker picker-upper”—was as well known as American Express’s “Don’t leave home without it” or Maxwell House’s “Good to the last drop.” A proprietary technology advantage meant that Bounty really was more absorbent than competitive brands, and it became the leading paper towel brand in North America. Even after Rosie retired, the brand continued to grow, adding a share point per year, like clockwork.

But by the late 1990s, the Bounty business ...

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