Pampers as a concept came about in the 1950s when Victor Mills was looking for a better way to diaper his grandson. Mills was a chemical engineer with Procter & Gamble at that time, and he decided to come up with a better alternative to the cloth diapers in vogue in the 1950s.
In 1956 he tasked his Research and Development colleagues with working on the first high-quality, affordable disposable diaper. At that time, disposable diapers were used in less than 1% of American households.
Finally, after years of redesigns, tests and manufacturing developments, the Pampers brand saw the light of day in 1961. The initial design launched by P&G was a two-piece diaper with a folded insert for a better fit and absorbency. The design that made it to the market was a rectangular one-price diaper consisting of a rayon liner to trap the moisture within the diaper. The outer covering was made of plastic with pleated edges to provide a better fit around the legs.
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Even though the new diapers were highly rated by consumers, the diaper sales returned disappointing numbers as they were priced four to five times over the cotton diapers. P&G then went back to the drawing board and came up with an improved manufacturing process that boosted production while decreasing the cost. In 1964, the new design was ready for launch in the open market at only 6 cents per diaper.
Needless to say, the new lot of Pampers was being sold as quickly as they were being made, and the Pampers success story was born. While there were other disposable diaper brands that made the rounds in the market, thanks to Pampers superior soaking technology and reasonable pricing saw them dominate the disposable diaper market and reinforced the Pampers success story.
The Pampers success story achieved a significant milestone in 1964 when its first patent was granted in the United States. Within five years of being awarded the patent, it passed another milestone when it became the first brand to be sold across the United States. Soon after, Pampers expanded its footprint across Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Victor Mills could not have even imagined that the Pampers success story that P&G is currently bearing witness to some half a century later. The work of Mills and his fellow researchers led to the creation of one of the world’s most iconic and recognisable brands in Pampers. Their efforts helped the world make the transition from inconvenient cloth diapers to the versatile disposable diapers.
From the time the first disposable diaper was shipped under the Pampers brand name in 1961, the Pampers success story has come a long way. Pampers was the first individual brand under the P&G umbrella to rope in more than ten billion dollars in annual revenue in 2012.
Pampers is the single most financially lucrative brand for P&G, and the disposable diapers are used by more than 25 million babies in over 100 countries across the globe.