Analyzing a Case Study: Proctor and Gamble (Int)


Students will discuss the activities of a consumer products company.
Student Level: 
Unit Group: 
Sales and Marketing

Warm Up (5 mins)

Do you know of any large foreign companies selling consumer products in Japan? 

Have you heard of Proctor and Gamble? What kind of products do they sell?

Listening (5 mins)

Watch the following video.

1. What was Proctor and Gamble's main product in the 1850's?

2. How did they make their products easy for consumers to identify?

Reading Comprehension (10 mins)

Read the following article.

1. What are the main activities of the three P&G Global Business Units?

2. How do large retailers compete with P&G?

3. According to the article, what are P&G's future expansion plans?

Grammar (5 mins)

Conjuctions "however" / "though"

We use conjuctions such as "however", "though" or expressions like "on the other hand" when we want to contrast a positive characteristic with a negative characteristic.


The cherry blossum season in Japan is extremely pretty. However, it only lasts for a short time.

We had to wait 30 minutes for a seat at the restaurant. The meal was delicious, though.

Bob is a fast worker but on the other hand he makes a lot of mistakes.

Topic Positive Negative
South America holiday very exciting too far from Japan
Italian sports cars stylish very expensive
Japanese public transport convenient can be very crowded
Japanese "izakaya" restaurants reasonably priced noisy and smokey

Use conjunctions such as "however", "though" and the expression "on the other hand" to make sentences from the above phrases.

e.g. A South American holiday would be very exciting. However, it is too far from Japan.

Brainstorm some products or services that you know well and contrast their good and bad points using the same grammar structures.

Vocabulary (5 mins)

Word or expressionMeaningExample sentence
target genderWhether the focus is on men or women.The target gender for Louis Vitton handbags is young women.
masculineTo exhibit qualities or characteristics traditionally belonging to men.Tom's new beard and moustache made him look very masculine.
feminineTo exhibit qualities or characteristics traditionally belonging to women.Sarah's long hairstyle and black evening dress made her appear very feminine.
alienateTo make someone feel unwelcome or unappreciated.We must be careful not to alienate our loyal customers.

With your instructor brainstorm some products that might be marketed exclusively to women or exclusively to men.

Brainstorm some products where you think there is no target gender i.e. intended for both male and female customers.

Role Play (15 mins)

Makiko:Thanks for coming to my office Graham.
Graham:No problem, Makiko. You wanted to talk about expanding our men's deodorant range into the women's market. Is that correct?
Makiko:That's right. Our research shows that a lot of women think the scent we are selling to men isn't particularly masculine. The market research people think we have an opportunity to sell our sprays and roll-on products to a new target gender. What do you think?
Graham:I'm not so sure it's a good idea. Don't we run the risk of alienating our male consumers?
Makiko:It's true. That could be a risk. On the other hand many women are already the ones buying the men's deodorant for their partner.
Graham:So a new "feminine" version of the same brand might not damage our brand image too much?
Makiko:That's it. We'll need a different marketing campaign of course.
Graham:Sure. Proctor and Gamble did something similar a few years ago with their Old Spice deodorant products. I'll study what they did with their marketing campaign.
Makiko:OK. Can you send me a preliminary report by the end of the week?
Graham:No problem Makiko. Let's talk about it some more in our next weekly team meeting.
Makiko:Sounds good. Thanks Graham.

Practice the role play with your instructor.

Imagine you and your instructor are co-workers in a company similar to Proctor and Gamble. Your boss wants to introduce a new line of zero-calorie soda drink aimed at male consumers. She is concerned that men will resist buying a product if they feel it is too "feminine". Have a conversation about how you could solve this marketing problem.

Extension Activity

What kinds of consumer products are heavily advertised in Japan?

Do you think advertising influences your decisions about buying everyday products like soap and laundry detergent?

How do you think marketing a P&G product like soap might be done differently in Japan compared to developing countries?

Review and Quiz (5 mins)

Do you have any questions about this lesson?

What did you learn today?

Did you learn any new vocabulary or expressions?

Ask your instructor for tips on how you can improve your English.

Finally, don't forget to take the quiz after all your lessons are finished today.

Thank you !