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...As Pritchard points to the future

News, 24 October 2016

ORLANDO, FL: Advertising can be a "force for good" if practitioners focus on quality and take a clear point of view on social issues that are relevant to their products, Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble's Chief Brand Officer, has argued.

Pritchard, who both heads up marketing at P&G and has just been appointed as Chairman of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), drilled down into this topic during the trade body's 2016 Masters of Marketing Conference.

And he suggested that turning the craft of advertising into a "force for growth" would require boosting creative standards, an area that can be neglected as marketers struggle to keep pace with the increasing number of channels at their disposal.

"So, job one is to be the absolute best at our craft," Pritchard said. (For more, including further tips for brands, read Warc's exclusive report: Pritchard's three priorities for the future of advertising.)

"Things like ad blocking may be a problem, but we actually have a much bigger opportunity to focus on, and that is growth.

"Each and every one of us can make a difference by stepping up and elevating the skills and the craft to deliver better advertising that's of higher quality."

Elaborating on this theme, he argued that advertising can be a "force for good" in much broader terms if it seeks to "help make the world better" in ways large and small.

"What I'm really talking about here is everyday advertising that builds in points of view on things that matter to people, and where your brand matters," he said.

"Our voice can be used to step up on important matters such as gender equality, racial bias, diversity and inclusion, and environmental sustainability."

In order to give these issues the attention they deserve, though, marketers must first address problems of measurement, where current shortcomings limit the impact of their work and take time away from more valuable tasks.

"We're spending way too much of our time, and wasted investment, on non-standard and faulty measurement – and a media supply chain that is murky at best, and, in some cases, even fraudulent," Pritchard said.

"Surely, if we can invent driverless cars and virtual-reality experiences, we can find a way to track and verify media accurately. It's time that we come together, though, to solve these problems. And this is not any one piece of the industry; this is the entire industry."

Data sourced from Warc