P&G champions online video

14 August 2012

NEW YORK: Procter & Gamble, the consumer goods giant, believes that online video will become the "next big wave" in the marketing world, combining the benefits provided by the internet and television.

Speaking to The Australian, Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble's global brand building officer, suggested that this medium would soon occupy a central strategic position for brands.

"It will become dominant in the online world. Digital and television will merge and then the ads can be much more targeted because they will be based on what people are doing online as well as what they're watching," he said.

In a demonstration of how this integration is already starting to gain shape, Pritchard cited an example of an internet ad created for Tide detergent in response to an accident during a NASCAR race in the US.

"We weren't sponsoring it and nobody was hurt, but the track had oil all over it. The crew came out and used Tide to clean it, so our guys started tweeting about it," he said.

"In 72 hours we created an online ad that we put out on social media. The exposure was worth $8.5m but it cost us $100,000."

Similarly, the "Thank you, Mom" multibrand campaign supporting Procter & Gamble's sponsorship of the recent Olympic Games spanned across TV, internet video and social media.

This effort constituted the latest developmental stage in the firm's communications strategy since Pritchard assumed his current role four years ago, and began directing greater funds to social channels.

"When I started, our spending on social media was less than 5% of the media budget. But we saw the whole digital world was hitting an inflexion point and we made a commitment that becoming big in digital would be a priority for us," said Pritchard.

Now, the company allocates more than 10% of its overall spending to digital, and has built up a strong following on Facebook, the social network, after a rather piecemeal beginning on this platform.

"We just asked people to create pages for the different brands," said Pritchard. "Now, almost every one has its own Facebook page and we have 80m fans."

However, Pritchard has also been in discussions with major academic institutions from Indiana University to Peking University about teaching aspiring marketers the requisite social media skills.

"The assumption is that young people just get it because they're on it themselves, but using it for business purposes is very different to personal," he said.

Data sourced from The Australian; additional content by Warc staff