But the high-end Baby Stages of Development line launched in 2001 in Western Europe and early 2002 in the U.S. has changed things dramatically for P&G's biggest global brand.
P&G has had 19 consecutive months of U.S. dollar share gains in diapers and training pants since Baby Stages launched, according to figures from VNU's ACNielsen Corp. reported by Banc of America Securities.
The line-which includes Pampers Swaddlers for newborns, Custom-Fit Cruisers for crawlers and Easy Ups training pants-rang up $370.6 million in sales for the 52 weeks ended Sept. 6, according to Information Resources Inc. It also gave Pampers a 19.5% share of a training pants segment, where it didn't compete two years ago.
For the first time in a decade, Pampers is building sales, volume, share and profit simultaneously, says Deb Henretta, 42, president-global baby care, who headed the trans-Atlantic launch after joining the business in 2001.
"We broadened our view from the narrow technical, functional focus on absorbency to a more consumer-relevant focus on baby development," Ms. Henretta says. "As a mom, this notion of products changing as babies grow was actually very intuitive and one that I saw in a host of other baby categories."
The "Learning From Babies" ad campaign behind Baby Stages, by Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, mined insights about how babies' diapering needs to change as they grow.