Historians regard the Korean War as a stalemate and the War in
as a loss for the United
In 1950 after the North Koreans
invaded South Korea the U. S. armed
forces struck back, and ultimately the war ended with the positions of the
parties as they began. But South Korea
went on to become an economic power in the Pacific, and ultimately a democratic
one. Given the level of the economy of
that country and its relatively free and open democracy there is no question
that the U. S.
‘won’ the war.
issue is a little more muddled. The
fight to prevent the North Vietnamese from taking over the entire country of Vietnam Vietnam
failed. And the Communist inspired
government still rules the country without allowing basic freedoms. But a funny thing happened on the way to
Communist domination of Southeast Asia. The funny thing, it didn’t happen.
There is no greater illustration how the war in
turned out differently than what was expected in 1975 when the U. S.
left than the
experience of the giant American consumer goods company, Proctor and
Gamble. As Businessweek reports, P &
G is in a battle with European giant Unilever to win not the hearts and minds
of the Vietnamese, but market share.
U.S. companies couldn’t operate in Vietnam because of an American trade embargo
imposed after the fall of Saigon in 1975. A
year after the embargo was lifted in 1994, P&G entered the country, as did
Unilever. But today P&G, the No. 1 provider of detergent, toothpaste,
paper towels, and razors in the ,
finds itself in the uncharacteristic position of playing catch-up. Unilever has
grabbed more market share in home-care and personal-care products. P&G
trails Huggies maker Kimberly-Clark in diapers, and in skin care it’s behind
Beiersdorf, maker of Nivea. It’s No. 1 only in razors with its Gillette
brand. “Vietnam is the next upcoming market, and there’s fierce competition,”
says Oru Mohiuddin of consumer researcher Euromonitor International. U.S.
And what P&G may be doing what the American military could not do, actually improving the lives of the Vietnamese people (instead of killing and maiming them).
On June 1 a new kindergarten opened in Minh Phuong, a hardscrabble village about 50 miles from
It looks like many schools in developing countries, with mustard-painted cinder
block walls and tile floors. There’s something unique about the classrooms,
however. Each has a silver-colored plaque near its door emblazoned with names
rarely found in a textbook: “Gillette Be Your Best,” “Pampers Golden Sleep,”
and “Pantene Shine.” Hanoi
These are all references to brands sold in
by Procter & Gamble (PG),
whose employees helped raise almost 80 percent of the school’s $100,000
cost. The world’s largest consumer-products company is using everything from
good deeds to television advertising to hand-washing demonstrations to win
Vietnamese customers. Vietnam