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THE POWER OF THE PURSE: HOW SMART BUSINESSES ARE ADAPTING TO THE WORLD'S MOST IMPORTANT CONSUMERS—WOMEN by Fara Warner

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Chapter 3. From Drudgery to “Swiffering”: Procter & Gamble Cleans House

To create the Swiffer, a new brand of cleaning products, Procter & Gamble explored how women perceived their traditional role as homemakers in a modern world—and even learned along the way what women thought about men's roles around the house.

By 2004, Procter & Gamble Co. (P&G) was heading into its fifth year of sales success with the Swiffer, a plastic mop-like gadget that featured dust-grabbing electrostatic cloths it had launched in August 1999. At the time of Swiffer's introduction, P&G executives expected that the Swiffer would provide the company with a solid new brand it could build over the decades.

What they hadn't expected was what happened. The Swiffer, which eliminated ...

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