P&G, Wal-Mart expand tie-up

18 April 2011

CINCINNATI: Procter & Gamble, the consumer goods manufacturer, and retail giant Wal-Mart are extending a partnership based around producing "family-friendly" broadcast content.

The two firms have already created four films suitable for viewers of all ages - Secrets of the Mountain, The Jensen Project, A Walk in My Shoes and Change of Plans.

All of these efforts fell inside the top three spots in their respective TV timeslots, and reached US homes an estimated 16m times after Secrets of the Mountain debuted on April 16, 2010.

The latest installment of "Family Movie Night", called Truth Be Told, was aired by Fox on exactly the same date this year.

Field of Vision has also finished production, and will be shown by NBC on June 11, with additional films scheduled for the peacock network in August, September and December.

"At Wal-Mart, we're committed to delivering more quality family entertainment options to parents across the country," said Stephen Quinn, Wal-Mart's US chief marketing officer.

"Our Family Movie Night in partnership with P&G is an anchor to our broader programme."

"Most importantly, it's something we know our customers want. It's also important to the growth of our business, and is one more way we can deliver on our promise to help our customers live better."

Wal-Mart and P&G formulated the idea of crafting such material as analysis conducted with the Association of National Advertisers revealed mothers and fathers felt short of choices.

Recent follow-up research found 94% of parents thought it was "extremely" or "very important" that family members spent time together, with entertainment playing a key role in achieving this goal.

A further 81% of contributors liked consuming films in such a way, a figure standing at 75% when it came to television.

Wider findings demonstrated 69% of mothers desired an increase in shows they could enjoy with their children, and 42% anticipated spending more time together if this was the case.

Three-quarters of moms have previously been forced to switch channels due to "inappropriate content" in a programme which was expected to be suitable for a young audience.

In a related trend, 71% of parents polled would "go out of their way" to locate more fitting material, indicating the scale of the opportunity.

Marc Pritchard, P&G's global marketing and brand building officer, argued the results thus far are highly encouraging.

"Since we began the Family Movie Night initiative a year ago, we have been inspired by the number of moms and families who've watched our movies and supported our brands," he said.

"We know there is still a need for more family programming, and we are proud to continue our partnership with Wal-Mart to bring even more families together through great entertainment this year and beyond."

Statistics cited by P&G following the release of Secrets of the Mountain equally proved this approach has knock-on advantages.

In all, 93% of mothers, a demographic at the heart of P&G's communications activities, "liked" the film, and 88% regarded it as being of "excellent quality".

Another 74% gave commercials featured during Secrets of the Mountain - including those for P&G brands - a positive rating, and 26% registered an uptick in favourability.

Overall, indexed purchase intent climbed by 270%, suggesting the combination of content and ads yielded many benefits.

"As the world's largest advertiser, we have a responsibility and an obligation to improve the quality of that programming," Robert McDonald, P&G's ceo, said last year.

"It's in our best interest to do that because it makes our advertising more effective."

Data sourced from P&G/Seeking Alpha; additional content by Warc staff