P&G’s Pritchard Urges Ad Creativity in Latest Industry CTA
When P&G’s Marc S. Pritchard speaks, marketers listen. And ad creativity is his latest call to action for marketers absorbing every word emanating from the mouth of the chief brand officer for the behemoth advertiser, Procter & Gamble.
In part, marketers give the man speaking on Monday at Advertising Week New York attention due to his brand touching 5 billion consumers who buy and use P&G’s products daily.
The rest is that Pritchard — perhaps because he speaks for the nation’s No. 4 ad spender, according to Ad Age — has the authority and the guts to say what they’d love to be able to say.
Last year, his CTA was for brands to take stands on societal issues. Brands did it. The year before that, Pritchard called on advertisers to demand accountability from the likes of Facebook and Google. Advertisers listened, and so did their digital ad platform providers.
So this year, during the Monday afternoon session in a filled IMAX theater, Pritchard discussed “Reimagining Creativity” with moderator Joanna Coles, founder and chief creative officer of Boudica; and Jon Kamen, chairman and CEO of RadicalMedia.
The future of marketing is creativity and partnerships with creatives, Pritchard says. That’s the solution to the current situation of media fragmentation in an era when marketers are still using ads to interrupt programming. They’re forcing audiences to view ads that are sometimes “silly, ridiculous, or stupid,” he says. That’s not the way to turn consumers into customers.
“Ads really haven’t changed that much,” Pritchard said, later adding, “We have to reimagine creativity like never before.”
But reimagining creativity doesn’t mean simply creating more ads, because “cutting through the clutter doesn’t [mean] adding to clutter,” Pritchard says.
Marketers should create ads people want to see, he says. Audiences should look forward to the ads, because they’re useful, interesting, and demonstrate the superiority of their products, Pritchard says.
Kamen talks about one route: intelligent programming, like P&G’s web series about SK-II. That kind of programming sees consumers “as an audience, and not just purchasers of their product.”
For advertising via intelligent programming, Pritchard predicts marketers will want to have a lot more partnerships with creatives, like the SK-II web series — featuring singer John Legend and comedians James Corden and Naomi Watanabe.
The web series and its trailer have had millions of views on YouTube, alone.
“First and foremost,” Pritchard says, “advertising creates memories.”
And, as he emphasized last year, advertising can also portray the brand’s values, take a stand on societal issues, and do good.
P&G’s latest ad aimed at eliminating bias takes on unspoken racism with “The Look.” Because advertising creates memories, it’s important to properly portray people in society. Bad ads can create bias, rather than eliminate it, he says. Doing it right can create change.
“When you have conversations, that leads to understanding,” Pritchard says.
A Light Brand Touch on Longer Programming
Menstruation keeps girls out of school in many countries where there’s deep shame and stigma surrounding the natural aspect of human biology that many Americans take for granted as routine. The shame and stigma result from more than not being able to afford sanitary products, like the ones P&G donates to those girls.
So even as educators worked to teach the girls — and boys who had been bullying the girls — about their periods, Americans were learning about that effort via programming from P&G, National Geographic and Global Citizen.
The light brand touch in the longer programming can help customers understand P&G’s values, Pritchard says. You can’t show brand values quickly, but you have to embed them into a bigger concept.
Audiences have an appetite for this longer programming, Kamen says. But it must be quality.
P&Gs been doing this kind of creative partnership for 30 years, Pritchard says.
“This works,” he told the marketers in the IMAX theater.
So now, P&G is studying sales and image lift, Pritchard says.
What do you think, marketers?
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