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it's big we can remaining delegates from all over north america have gathered in washington this evening for the annual convention of the potato chip institute international many of them come with deep anxiety because they're involved in one of the great merchandising bottles of our age the great potato chip war the battle began with a thing called pringles and they end with the demise of one of america's oldest institutions the potato chip as we know it some believe another valuable piece of americana as being ruthlessly devoured by technology others hailed a pringle was the epitome of progress it's a situation which is provoke the strongest feelings
among consumers one of them is comedian mark russell who's with jim lehrer in washington and americans i believe the quality love life in america today as the tear it by the president and i was a catholic but that eclipse now i say that the pringle conspiracy is an ever growing menace when we were children were but they didn't get back in the fight airtight can when i you wear that all the tickets were allowed to be as they were meant to be wiring parade on from the little badly oh pringles are exactly to say they have no individual characteristics of all behavioral traits that all their alter egos every window is exactly the same you buy a pringle here in washington and a lot of san francisco you'll buy another gringo annual hold them up and they're exactly right
like you know what is diverted out there as well mr the central brain though it's within the factory in a vault but procter and gamble all the others are xeroxed copy a lot of hard hitting excuse me i have to settle down it also worked up over this a lot i was writing about you know and a lot of hard hitting follow up questions come to mind that i think i'm going to pass on that mound come back later robin i've never passed a pringle in my life from richard makers of the united states for shippers as they like to be called of labored to perfect their product for over a century the initial chipper was in fact an american indian who was cornelius vanderbilt's cook one night in eighteen fifty three while trying to imitate french french fries you reach new heights of potatoes and this millions of americans since then have munched them and
love them to the tune of what is not one another billion dollars a year the triggers that remained somewhat small regional entrepreneurs because the perishable chip can only travel so far despite the later invention of the cheese do to all the corn chip in the cheese curl that manage to hold their own and grow until the pringle the scientifically designed perfect potato chip began the battle to convince the nation that the day of the squash jet was over friday night poker club had never seen anything like gringos newfangled potato chip shops oh man great
no i didn't make them will return when they do when you discover a pringle newfangled with a ticket at many kids with this big bag french unbroken back into christ proved they approved an affair wrangle new fangled but they do it it said the newfangled to paycheck and they have the hydrate decade of vegetable shortening about entitlements type of stabilize the fall but it's going to get that nba cheney added to pick their best and why i think a ticket for me i played a vegetable oil without batting <unk> potato chip or wives or chips you decide what is potato chips not connect emotions pringles the so called perfect potato chip is the brainchild of procter and gamble a corporate giant which also mike's open disposable backers among many many other fines it's a
dehydrated chilled in the shape of a hyperbolic terrible which is huge on a tree fans knows is the design like that art is not factored into black swan interns say one in north carolina and they're shipped them across the country and the shiny red tennis ball canister like things are i think they can live for a year on the grocery store shelf long after its neighboring normal chip bag is past its prime friend who's not have been very grandly promoted by procter and gamble fallen a small test market beginning in nashville tenn in evanston illinois in nineteen sixty eight or nineteen seventy three there were thirty five major markets and as of may of this year that we're in all fifty states including new york it's a success story that horrified and angers the old fashioned potato chip makers like bob nicol here who runs the takeover potato chip company of kansas city missouri well what happened when
rebels moved in here specifically or gm they came in with a a tremendous advertising campaign mainly a television newspaper in the comic section cents off offers through the merchant fifty cents a case display allow for advertising last few bonds and at the present time and some others are offering coupons for a free cash for a newfangled thing to do to your business ah naturally it that took away some of our business because any type of a product that promotes and advertisers is heavily is about to be sold the first thai series divergent answers they're just a little better what our series later in her advertising campaign at the time that they were doing their television and the couponing and the signs off everything on one fact we just saw the commercials honest no final verse of the old final give us in layman's terms what the real difference is between one of these one of yours well
why these misery caused to the date and laid out a potato flour or a potato chip is sliced from under all the data cooked in vegetable oil until crisp and that is the real the page well but the rebels are also made up the pages of that was the difference well the definition is defined by webster and by fda up and off couple years ago was a good trip was a royal slice of the data deep fried until chris there was no provision for to be made out of anything other than raw whole potatoes and this is our convention and you think this is bad right i think it's bad because the definition of a potato chip as night used by brock and ammo in the way that it should be and i have nothing against their product such i think it's a great product as a pretty a snack but as the page acknowledged that what you did what anyone able to do to fight back we've come back with advertising and promotions and trying to tell our story that we have a natural
product and not imitation and not a lot of that is that our ingredients are baghdad are much the same as the one in the commercial interests autumn wise selected potatoes pickled vegetable oil and saw no additives nothing else and there's a complete natural food do you think they've been treated unfairly by pringles i would say that they've come in with a lot of clout and a lot of power in order to get their products into the merchants shelves based on the number of other products at the president have in the stores they were able to force their way into the stores ok you must live so we invited procter and gamble to join us tonight and they declined but i would like to quickly get their basic position now they've they feel is the opposite of course they feel that there is nothing wrong with pringles and the group is that people love them and buying them the problem they say isn't simply the jewel final keepers just can't live with the competition and resent the
competition proctor and gamble for the record spent ten years developing this new find a potato chip and they use there they decide as mathematicians are now wide variety of other experts and they also spent an estimated seventy million dollars and the research and development phase and he's researched did show that people were irritated that broken scraggly jets and furthermore the book the ball on bags bond everybody so according to be in g the public wanted a crush group resealable airtight canister that would fit and up in the cupboard without squashing potato chips and the injuries answer was pringles i don't understand tamara come on yeah well it's a very interesting time as surprised and then they will is you're there joe franklin are staffer who worked on the story talk to everybody in the corporate office of public relations are putting their lobbying office here in washington
and up also apparently a spot in secrecy for some reason that they wouldn't send us any material we had a book like that commercial just saw the year in fact joe one time ask them what we tell us just how many cans of pringle do so last year and they said nothing though nasa can cure we won't give up its so if i may be pardoned a comic robin it's so they may be putting out a new final competitive but they're operating mcconnell final word because you think that in the light of that consumerism move much in truth in packaging in corporate responsibility that they would feel obligated to be more public about it but obviously the dollar as their dozens of course they are they're free to do whatever they want no for joe i don't know and not to our car research didn't divulge the fact that they have a huge fortune magazine did a piece on a great potato chip or a sometime ago in the fortune right up to the assignment of stonewall are cold shoulder and we did they were named earlier from politicians did this if the early they just hid behind his commercials and would never explain his
position on anything and that wouldn't attend any press conferences or any interviews when we'd be a wee bit like a disturbing precedent that we went into a litany so let's move on now one interviews another guest is here with me and with a large virtually vice president of the potato chip as an international which is robinson at the beginning is opening its convention in modern its annual meeting here in washington and i will read your quotas diverge from those fortune magazine article that i was just mentioning it says the development of pringles as a classic case are recognizing a need and a consumer market and then painstakingly working away to me are when i confronted with your folks of just what is basically a sorry grateful mr kaplan and the company is welcome to build a new mosque tour and i think park and gamble looked at our industry a large number of small producers that were limited to a lender the geographical area
they saw some problems in the product as far as freshens possibly that i think mobile products such as i have that would have your shelf life or widower when i really concerned about that because they're insured the kitchen was consumed say within two weeks' time that shouldn't have been concerned and in other words the the apparently the procter and gamble on marketing research showed that people were concerned that unlike their paychecks to be all banged up many like these bats good show and the potato chip industry and i've seen this before not now front on this issue as as we say in political terms the industry in the institute has been working over a number of years and developing better potato varieties that are packaging materials and offering improve service to the stores i think we have the number one snack when the country people are concerned that the reform a half pounds per person and when i think of they're going to continue to consume we welcome competition but an education we feel procter and gamble is trained on the
name potato chips on a product the name that's been developed over a period of over fifty years been defined by webster's dictionary for over sixty five years is a slice of raw potato deep fried this is a little bit whether it's reconstituted the hydrate into whatever that is a chip that their days of non why couldn't a white of mcallen what is that offenders some larger okay look at art so your local butcher gave you a piece of meat in the shape of a t bone steak which is made out of ground beef and sold it to the consumer as to a long stay it would be the same point you got it home and taste of it and and taste the texture of that product ok good luck they've done this they say it's updated gop folks at a sympathetic job it's doing great all over the country people are actually buying and these red the shiny red canisters and reading that i mean it explained that the bodies like this thing overwhelming advertising for one that obviously there are some consumers alike pringles they're making routine purchases however is
you may not know procter and gamble is probably the world's largest advertising they spend over three hundred and twenty five million dollars a year advertising who is this says procter and sales of about six billion dollars hit on that generally advertising we understand through published sources that they spent about seventy million dollars developing pringles <unk> initial product development through their three year through their test markets and on through to national distribution it's reported that they're spending neighborhood of about five between five and ten percent of their total sales dollar on advertising vs the average potato chip manufacturing spending maybe less than one percent and advertise why do you think this little why do you think that they have what mr bridges as true with procter and gamble made his decision to go up why do you think they want or the potato chip industry what it is that unlike the fed it actually make a million other things you think you could do you think you are vulnerable well i think that they came
into page of because it was the number one snack food and the united states with a popular one we've got a good day growth pattern going and also the fact that they saw that there were many many small companies in the united states covering a small geographic area and a felt that possibly they could come in and work one or two areas at a time and this is what they have done in other words when they come into an area they bring in a staff of salesmen second far outnumber the local potato chip company in the area and it's something that we cannot do for other territories others we could not take out a campus at fifties salesman and taken to new york city for example that we don't have that many extra sales as the institute run any kind of joint training programme are you folks really gotten together to fight this thing in any joint national one of course we would be something on very dangerous grounds for us cars and i trust legislation is concerned who have never been very
careful around with this in the first place a procter and gamble makes ivory soap which probably explains why pringles float if you love when you know that that commercial there's a lottery here it shows a bunch of guys maybe a little older guys in their late eighties and in their mind well anyway they were older than you look what they were playing poker right now there's nobody over the age of nine who likes pringles i mean i've i'd been traveling does not necessarily turn this is what i can say this has become an obsession with me really they really that they submitted a bunch of guys jumping up and over again potato chips are probably drinking three point two beer for no fear at all when you so i'll go with his ailing although there's nothing wrong with these little pieces all the plastic into something wrong with plastic flamingos in your front lawn either
slow class but he wasn't done here but the pinnacle of reykjavik over voting on happy in a bag the terrible for these things but is there a wider social significance to the arrival of the pringle does it say something about the development of our society doctor undeterred seale is a professor of sociology at columbia university first of all of doctor at suny are you unbiased about this do you have a personal attitude about the pringle what i discovered in the hands of my six year old child so all it seemed a point arc and i'm not a very interesting is that your emotions were you so right into your future well i think for me as an obscene part art because it qualifies the supreme court to finish the photography yeah i think as nelly beating so for merit and actually are overstating the case it has now reviewing the pressure meredith and i'd say that that should be
submitted district it's possible to have a day checking it on his chemical isn't at the site i think is a more serious issues at stake and on other than the one of civilization's front of his nation and what will happen if orban gamut tomorrow decide to move some other field and block these canisters that they're with the book that it's powerful but they're the most serious issue that this what the putting our mind on armenians are scientists are advertising in this that the last century we have problems if you want it i think that who are bought cause these to lose twenty five thousand lives and five eight years in i mean and alcohol makes a nobody helps you have millions of people need to be legal smoking so it found the private sector hour one support of mind into something richer some consequence i find this unbelievable listeners got it and one a person but then washington about two kinds of
crap once that was long one is that the constitution was once as an enlisted the problem and it would have to do or durable doesn't make our cities when i was more why if they look if they can move from suvs to potato chips are they can move through art and you see doubt the new testament and events of the innocent and good grant to make a second and so on dr aren't the patent the synthetic time is known for its plans for vanity and i mean the concern was propagandists both up scenic stands out or was the kingpin of us as the united big in this country if you've gotten something heavy on stupid spent about like a plastic camera reaches all cheek and jaw back to send that that's denied to make a debt of our society the world's most and that's the deeper reason our series on energy prices though unemployment the left unattended archive dr research and development are thinking
used to be captured large leaves was based on say defense business that is not a slut is subsiding in the number one consumer of online power in this country and in their labs goes is going to lead you seem to find time and forty five seconds to fifteen seconds overcoming mother nature explain i practiced a lot of work and gamble because they should know that it is no secret in this country they can't become invested customs about how to get the public health and i think that is it is no public need for the commodity is hot commerce is that and yellow these men to capture your imagination takes it causes you want to think and that friendly barbershop on the study fellow there is a gimmick you think lowman at home and his excitement there elements to capture use of the do nothing is a tour through the site i didn't attempt to me that in their unmarked connected the business school english to explain the secret of their success
their bios and that will be in the house now that and indeed they've taken very very serious and he's the surge goes into the thing well presumably the rewards for americans and then it gets its normal apartment and that's going to be coming into the to stop that crime only you and may much on that nine to stay away from the scrap the senate back to them you know rosenstein someone goes badly your brussel well i there's another company that idea of which will remain the planners that they're coming out with with another one out in their commercials make it look as if they invented it as a very little we got it again and as a plastic tarp on the region or even stop these people auntie have to do just a if you ever seen a pringle with the bubble in the war a ripple in the and that's the fun of advantages
also the area with a flavor we like the little ones in the big ones that your see a potato that was a size all the way through we're like a little slice of like the big slices we like a different flavor you can visit the chloride for what papers all levels with data's not forward let's go out of our fifth day i mean that's the thing at a marketing the ordinance for men to live two years ago we didn't know we had an army just live and nature have some smells drones over that line that i think that to the commercial made as a velvet car very beginning but that's omar going on longer a member and race in america began as a problem by nixon that got the horses led him back to make them smell good because they discover what's on sweat which means most of those it's offensive or only to certain lines that this is the mindset which requires in an actor to his boss because he cannot move ona to watch
on tv the doggie ate and refrigerators which the shot that's hugely one of things that just have to open it that's the culture yet parker and gamble is only a sin to enrich everything is package everything stand about everything that official and about what is meaningless that has no dealing self i wonder what your potato chip manufacturer guests what you think should be done nine day if you take that gorecki on these points that there was a terrible fight for it what ways you think of the terrible pollution terrible thing from your board of you mr russel things it's a terrible thing to watch what can be done about that what i like i mentioned earlier that our members are real potato chip makers are spending much less on advertising and have in the past been much less than proctor and gamble spending and pringles i would suggest is one measure is to start telling the consumer of
the benefits of that real great crunchy ten to get a minute on your job of course the institute we're going to get started on these type programs this coming year and it is yes and that's he is not gossip what i'm not allowed to only every time he sits at a weathered and that's not that it's a serious and all the ninth significant gains and wishing big and complicated as the flag for the doctor what they yell at they have a constitutional right we know that would go back you wondered where a worldwide procter and gamble is wasting so much technological challenge to develop this in the wind of the abuse of the us my guest is the the technicians are probably the same people who tried to sell friends on the idea of putting vintage wine in popped up in god's words you're in personally on that today i've got one that
i'm hesitant to express it because i am over nine years old and i'm very much outnumbered here the third i've got the two true that i knew had like to think i make no apologies it that i enjoyed your actual part of cairo i dont think under the observer consumer goods are like i don't like pringles potato chips or like the other kind of as the taste of a pringle says is very artificial and their samsonite just don't happen and i do like order to get a job but what worries me more and i was i also agree with what worries me more is they are perhaps or old fashioned view concern about the power of advertising directly brainwash people to convince people because their trauma because it's new and because they're told in very persuasive circumstances with a massive extensive campaign that they're going to like something into sort of forced them to advocate or override the information they get from their own sense of the problem the problem robin is that would be a cure might be worse than the woody identified over and then they invite the
commercials didn't know you mean well with michael what are the hall one day public television this often and acquittal on and the commercials and the genius of the attack last july and i will say that one day less awakened them longer well the fraud that if they don't raise the money are crap yeah money could norman ornstein using the word i think there's less er at the all day thank you are all wide eyed our recruiting i gemini will be back tomorrow night where we will continue our policy or bring you the most important publications are not revealed he came to be
The Robert MacNeil Report
Episode Number
Great Potato Chip War
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NewsHour Productions
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NewsHour Productions (Washington, District of Columbia)
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This episode of the Robert MacNeil Report looks at Pringles and American potato chips in general. MacNeil and Lehrer speak with food industry experts and representatives about how the combination of airtight, tubular cans and the saddle-shape of each Pringle made it a phenomenon that threatens to monopolize the potato chip industry.
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Guest: Burch, Lawrence
Guest: Lippold, Robert
Guest: Etzioni, Amatai
Guest: Russell, Mark
Host: MacNeil, Robert
Host: Lehrer, Jim
Producing Organization: NewsHour Productions
AAPB Contributor Holdings
NewsHour Productions
Identifier: F880A (Reel/Tape Number)
Format: 2 inch videotape
Generation: Master
Duration: 26:23:00
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Chicago: “The Robert MacNeil Report; 18; Great Potato Chip War,” 1975-11-13, NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 13, 2022,
MLA: “The Robert MacNeil Report; 18; Great Potato Chip War.” 1975-11-13. NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 13, 2022. <>.
APA: The Robert MacNeil Report; 18; Great Potato Chip War. Boston, MA: NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from