P&G looks to sampling

17 November 2014

CINCINNATI, OH: Procter & Gamble, the FMCG giant, intends to divert an increasing proportion of its marketing spend into sampling, in an effort to reach the many people who have never tried its brands.

Speaking at an investor conference, AG Lafley, the company's ceo, highlighted how such programs had been instrumental in propelling the Pampers diaper brand to market leadership in the US.

And while reaching new mothers in hospitals, for example, is a relatively straightforward process, P&G is also tackling more difficult-to-reach demographics, with its Gillette shaving brand aiming to send one of its latest-technology razors to every US male on his 18th birthday.

Gillette is a well-known name, but its top-end range of Fusion ProGlide blades have apparently only been tried by 14% of American men. Swiffer, the innovative cleaning product, has similarly been tried by just 10% of US consumers.

In addition to this focus on what Lafley described as "point of market entry", agencies were hit by a second announcement that P&G is also planning to make fewer ads, Advertising Age reported.

"With the overwhelming amount of information clutter in the world, we're finding that fewer advertising messages, communicated more consistently and with fewer changes, are more effective at delivering top-of-mind awareness," said Procter's global brand building officer, Marc Pritchard. 


He also revealed that the business was now using a proprietary programmatic buying system as it continued to put more money into digital advertising.

These developments are the latest in a series of shifts taking place at P&G, which earlier this year revealed it was planning to sell up to 100 brands, around half its total portfolio, and concentrate instead on the remaining "core" brands that account for 90% of sales and 95% of profits.

Only last week, investment mogul Warren Buffett bought the Duracell battery brand. Lafley said then: "We will continue to accelerate and increase productivity savings, sharpen our strategies and strengthen our portfolio."

Cutting the number of ads will also result in lower agency and production costs, and P&G's chief financial officer, Jon Moeller, was keen to see a continuing decline in non-advertising costs, which currently account for around a third of its total marketing budget.


But he also indicated that these savings would be reinvested in more marketing, noting that brands such as Tide and Pampers had actually increased their spending as a share of sales last year.

Data sourced from Advertising Age, Reuters, Forbes; additional content by Warc staff