Don’t Fall for the Content Crap Trap: P&G’s Marc Pritchard

Posted on by Patty Odell

Is technology getting in the way of creativity? Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer for P&G, the world’s largest advertiser, says yes. So much so that often the fight between creative and technology is producing “crap.”

Marc Pritchard
Marc Pritchard

“Advertising has a bad reputation as a content crap trap,” he said today at the ANA Masters of Marketing Conference. “In this digital age we’re producing thousands of new ads, posts, tweets, every week, every month, every year. We eventually concluded all we were doing was adding to the noise.”

P&G stepped up its game to give consumers the brand experiences they deserved. It raised the bar on creativity to give consumers its very best work—the key to its growth.

Three guideposts led the way:

Express the brand on a creative canvas Express the brand as a masterpiece painted on a canvas to deliver the essence of the brand and the brand’s personality on culturally relevant topics that matter to people.

“We can step up on important matters like diversity and inclusion,” he said. “We can promote positive conversations. Make sure the canvas is consistently seen as your brand across mediums to get people to turn toward your brand.”

Elevate the creativity Craftsmanship is visual artistry. It belongs to masters. Don’t accept mediocrity. Beautiful craftsmanship requires time and we’re spending too much time on measurement instead of quality. Measurement is not going to make crappy advertising better. Our patience has run out. Our partners need to stop wasting time on measurement and focus on what’s important: Elevating the craft of our brand.

Embrace creativity as a human endeavor Bring the positive energy of advertising to affect attitudes and how we think about each other. That’s a big responsibility; to truly understand and connect with the people we serve. Advertising is a people business. The last few years have been tough on agencies. The negative narrative needs to stop. People in our agencies are good people that want to do good work. Let’s tap into that.

“These three elements are what we’re doing at P&G with our partners to raise the creative bar and attract more people to turn to our brands,” Pritchard said.

He cited the Pantene Pro-V brand, which had “grown stale and lost in a sea of similar advertising” as an example. The new campaign features stars like Selena Gomez, Jillian Hervey and the NFL’s DeAngelo Willams. The creative and messaging breaks conventions to bring to life the brand’s benefits that “strong is beautiful” across all mediums. Watch the Happy Father’s Day from Pantene YouTube video with close to 700,000 views:

The Tide brand, P&G’s most iconic, is another example that shows off the company’s three guideposts, including incorporating current cultural trends like Dad’s helping with laundry and the Airbnb craze. Watch the video:

“Every part of the creative canvas looks like Tide,” Pritchard said. “We consistently use the iconic bulls eye and Tide colors to unabashedly communicate performance and have fun with new takes on life. Consumers would like to hear what brands have to say; what’s the point of view of the brand. You have to make sure that social issue you talk about matters and that the brand matters.”

So how did P&G undertake this massive marketing transformation?

“We were getting so confused by all the technology; we tried to simplify it,” he said. “Brand building is not rocket science. We came up with the idea of the creative canvas to talk about what your brand does. We went brand by brand and raised the bar and didn’t accept mediocrity. That had to cascade to agencies and suppliers. The agencies want to do great work and we provided more clarity and asked for the best work.”

The hard work has paid off.

“All the work you saw are brands that are growing market share and growth, household penetration, sales, profits,” Pritchard said. “Creativity drives growth. We are continually striving to raise the bar; to do the undisputed best. All of us have a choice to set standards for the industry. Will we allow the vast technology to erode the work or bring out the best in each other? Will we raise the creative bar? Yes and together we will leap over it.”

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