In 2001, Procter & Gamble admitted to a spying operation, alleged to have been carried out over 6 months, on its hair-care competitor Unilever. Their cunning plan, which P&G referred to as an “unfortunate incident,” included going through Unilever’s trash in search of documents, although if Unilever habitually throw away full documents entitled “Super Secret Product Information That Will Crush P&G” their days as an industry leader are numbered.
P&G denied Fortune Magazine’s allegation that their operatives pretended to be market analysts. The two companies reached an agreement, and P&G has pledged not to use any of the information it gained in product development. Dumpster pizza and shredded paper certainly doesn’t sound like the next big thing in hair care.