Marketers must win consumer trust, says P&G's Majoras

12 March 2009

CINCINATTI: Marketers must ensure ads are effective, but also that their claims are accurate and the privacy of consumers is respected at all times, in order to counter increasingly negative perceptions about the business world, says Deborah Platt Majoras, Procter & Gamble's vp general council.

Majoras argued that advertisers "can't foster trust with consumers now if they feel like they've been had," requiring a new rigour in marketing practice.

Online is one key area where advertisers have to ensure the veracity of their claims, as web users feel a strong sense of ownership over the medium.

As "anti-business" feeling has been fostered by recent bailouts and increasing governmental oversight, pressures could also mount on the self-regulation of the advertising industry, Majoras warned.

However, while arguing the "road ahead is not going to be easy," she said that the ad industry has been "far more responsible than we get credit for." 

While the Federal Trade Commission is likely to retain self-regulation arrangements, Majoras added that the existing rules will probably be more aggressively enforced and, as such, advertisers should voluntarily become more responsible.

Retail giant Wal-Mart is also looking for agencies to handle its PR business, and wants a "re-examination of its needs to be met by outside PR counsel".

Among the goals for the new agencies will be to deliver "fresh, emotional PR programming and deliver robust ROI", and also to provide "excellent capabilities" in news media, media relations, "crisis communications" and "multicultural outreach."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff