PACKAGE GOODS: CHANGING COURSE A TEST AT PACKAGE GOODS GIANTS

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Archrivals procter & Gamble Co. and Unilever find themselves losing market shares in North America.

And two of the most powerful executives in package goods marketing are out to reverse that slide.

Denis Beausejour, 41, has been keeping a lower profile this year than he did in1998, when he captured the attention of the marketing world by launching the Future of Advertising Stakeholders summit to plot a course for interactive marketing. Since then his role at P&G has broadened and his impact deepened in his new role as VP-marketing.

His duties now cover all areas of marketing as P&G strives to develop "holistic" communications with consumers.

"We've got to grow top-line sales growth," Mr. Beausejour said in an interview earlier this year. ". . .And we have to take advantage of the fact we're big, to leverage scale and to speed up decision making."

The Agency Relationship Renewal project -- spearheaded in 1995 upon his arrival in the U.S. following a tour of duty in Asia -- is an effort to facilitate that course of action. The project has changed how P&G works with advertising agencies. It includes a new compensation system based on a percentage of sales and a new policy that assigns "single-point accountability" to a P&G executive for every advertising project.

Mr. Beausejour also has become VP-marketing for P&G's global beauty-care unit, created as part of the company's Organization 2005 restructuring. He joins A.G. Lafley, president-global beauty care, as they try to right a cosmetics and skincare business that has been losing share for years and a haircare business that faces increasingly strong competition.

In the beauty care assignment, Mr. Beausejour gets a chance to put talk about interactive marketing into practice. He heads the project team for Reflect.com, P&G's $50 million e-commerce joint venture with Silicon Valley venture capital fund Institutional Venture Partners.

Reflect.com, which will market a new brand of cosmetics custom-formulated for consumers, marks P&G's biggest effort ever to sell products direct to consumers.

Unilever has yet to travel the consumer-direct route, but it has made interactive communications with consumers a top priority, with an estimated $100 million commitment to Internet marketing ventures this year.

Richard Goldstein, 57, Unilever's President-CEO for the U.S., has been the point man for Unilever's interactive push, which has seen the company become the biggest interactive advertiser among package-goods companies and among the biggest advertisers of any kind on female-oriented sites.

He will play a leadership role in Unilever's newest global initiative to pare two thirds of its 1,200 global brands and focus on the 400 that account for 90% of the company's sales.

Though overseas brands are expected to make up most of those ultimately pared, Mr. Goldstein will be taking a hard look at laggards in the U.S. The program should also result in stronger and more consistent support for such leading U.S.

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