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    Proctor & Gamble's Discovers New Market for Prilosec in Neighborhood "Bunco Babes"

    Sept 2006

    Here's a story about Snickers Salads, a drug known as Prilosec, a century-old dice game, and how one woman translated it all into valuable trademarked products that caught the attention of one of America?s largest companies.

    Ever heard of Bunco? It's a very old game of chance played with three dice rolled in turn by each of four players. Bunco dates back to the Roaring 1920s and Prohibition where it was played in Bunco parlors which were, shall we say, not entirely legal establishments that offered a range of vices, including gambling and prohibited alcohol.

    Today the dice game, still known as Bunco, is legally enjoyed by millions of women. Generally, groups of 12 or so gather at a given players home, play Bunco and share an evening together talking about their lives, and probably men (which is why men are NEVER invited).

    All that Bunco playing and talking happens around tables of snacks and sweets including a salad made from Cool Whip, marshmallow crème, cream cheese, chopped Snickers bars and, perhaps for some purported health purpose, some apples.

    In 1996, according to a Wall Street Journal story, Leslie Crouch, decided to organize all of her fellow Bunco fans into the World Bunco Association in, as she says, her garage. Since then she has created or acquired various web addresses and trademarks related to Bunco. If you have been dreaming of your very own Bunco Babe t-shirt, Leslie has that for sale along with a cookbook filled with deserts and snacks of all types. Because Bunco is a very old name, it can't be trademarked and owned by anyone; but someone can create a separate, new identity around Bunco, as Leslie has done, and trademark that.

    Enter Proctor & Gamble (P&G), one of the world?s leading consumer products company that markets, among other things, pharmaceuticals such the heartburn medication Prilosec OTC.  Its efforts to reach people who suffer from heartburn led them to that Snicker Salad, Bunco, and straight to the doorstep of Leslie Crouch.

    You see, it turns out that 60% of the more than seven million Bunco regulars suffer frequent heartburn. That's more than four million heartburn Bunco Babes! And, when  P&G learned this, they also discovered that when a Bunco Babe learns about Prilosec from her friends around the dice table, her likelihood of buying Prilosec goes up by 40%.

    So, P&G got together with Leslie Crouch and sponsored the first Bunco World Championship in Las Vegas. Registration of 1,000 women was sold out in a matter of days with a waiting list of another 1,000. And, now all this has led to the Bunco World Tour. There is no telling where this is going to end. Leagues? ESPN?

    P&G has been so happy with the relationship with Bunco that they took a license to Leslie Crouch's trademarks through the year 2008.

    Leslie Crouch took an old game and created something brand new and valuable. She established trademarks and name recognition around Bunco that P&G found valuable. In turn, the Bunco Babes have benefited from P&G’s sponsorship, which led to programs on Oxygen cable TV, and a $50,000 grand prize at the World Championship in Las Vegas.

    In some ways, what P&G licensed from Ms. Crouch is what all the buzz and value is about with outlets like Google, YouTube, and online advertising in general. Companies that sell products are always looking for newer, and better ways to reach their potential customers.

    If you can organize people around some common campfire, chances are there are going to be companies that would like to provide information to those people, and are willing to pay to get that opportunity.

    By Dr. Richard Razgaitis, President, The Licensing Foundation

    Links Referenced:

    Copyrighted Wall Street Journal Story (requires a subscription to the Wall Street Journal)

    P&G Press Release on Prilosec

    Bunco sites sponsored by Prilosec, and where you can buy Bunco Babe shirts and other accessories: and  and

    National Association of Bunco Investigators (of course no connection these days to the Bunco dice game):