Dirty Donuts are so Good.
I've been trying to untangle the economic politics of company transactions and takeovers in the perfume industry for a while. It's hard to piece the truth together because in many cases there aren't any reliable documentations of what happens. In the case of Shulton, it's so complicated that it gets the head spinning. For example, the American Cyanamid story is one thing - I wrote an article a few years ago about the Indian Old Spice situation. The Menezes family, etc. P&G taking the formulas back, the whole thing was quite the narrative arc. (Btw, I think part of the reason P&G dropped the Shulton name from packaging has to do with the OS India story.)
Shulton's situation hinges on a dual perspective. On the one hand you can choose to view the AC buyout in '70 as much ado about nothing. Sales declined for Shulton between '69 and '70, it was the first downturn in sales in its 30+ yr history, and they were ready for bigger money to back them. Thus they maintained the Shulton company by plugging into a larger corporation.
On the other hand, you can consider the implications of what happens when a giant manufacturing conglomerate takes over anything, and infer pursuant events from there. If AC buys Shulton, what do they actually get? They get everything, including the rights to print the name and veil from customers the fact that Shulton no longer owns the product. They get to do stuff like let one of the related founders, Shultz himself, be "director" for the next 17 years. Titles are funny because if they sound official, they carry unearned weight. Shultz had every right to be CEO of Shulton, but director? When the sale to P&G happened, did anyone behind the original Shulton company's success see a penny? Did survivors of the 1970 deal approve of flankers like Old Spice Herbal? How far did AC's reach extend into the creative process?
I haven't been able to parse through all these details, even after extensive research.
The simplest analogy in company terms that I can think of is to refer to General Motors. Leland, Murphy, and Bowen founded the Cadillac Automobile Company in 1902. In 1909, the company was purchased by GM. Sure, the timelines are different, but the analogy is in how the independent Cadillac company, made by Cadillac alone, was eventually absorbed by a massive conglomerate, and from that point to today we subconsciously associate Cadillac with GM, even if in conversation GM never comes up. We still frequently pretend that Cadillac is made by Cadillac. The GM parts bin says otherwise!
The brands under American Cyanamid included Tabac, Pierre Cardin, Nina Ricci, Breck Shampoo, and Pine-Sol. These were all "divisions" of AC, just as Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac, GMC, all divisions of GM.
Excellent post. I never did understand their mindset of Herbal or Night Spice. I always just assumed they were competing with companies like Mennen, when they came out with their different flavors of Skin Bracer around the same time frame.
Your posts definitely fills in some of the gaps in the time frames and goings on in their history. While I can easily smell the differences between any vintage Old Spice compared to the modern stuff.
The vintage stuff I have had and have used thru the years from 50’s stuff all the way to the 90’s, all had the same wonderful foundation or scent, aroma, profile or whatever they call it. I have always just recognized it as, ‘the goodness of Shulton.’
I would take any vintage Old Spice regardless of the year over the modern stuff they sell now. It was just that good.