Beauty and the Beast: Proctor & Gamble’s SK-II Incidents

Beauty and the Beast: Proctor & Gamble’s SK-II Incidents

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Abstract

SK-II is Proctor & Gamble’s (P&G) high-end skincare product line, made in Japan and exported to China. It entered the Chinese market in 1999 after taking off in neighboring Japan, and became a top premium cosmetics brand within a few years. Two consecutive product safety scandals in 2005 and 2006 stopped its growth momentum, however. In March 2005, a Chinese consumer sued SK-II for false advertising. Although P&G won the case despite a fine, the incident generated much publicity and scrutiny. In September 2006, after discussions of SK-II quality issues subsided, the Chinese government announced that the product line contained toxic ingredients harmful to the skin. P&G’s denial and repeated emphasis on own technical expertise as well as its meeting international safety standards inflamed Chinese ...

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