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Brand activism powers P&G

News, 12 September 2016

NEW YORK: Procter & Gamble brands, such as Always, SK-II and Ariel have all successfully demonstrated the power of marketing to help drive social change in widely differing contexts.

Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at P&G, reported that the firm's marketers are charged with developing a "creative canvas", premised on "an authentic brand idea which uniquely defines the essence and the performance of the brand".

Alongside informing strategy-making, he continued, "the other thing about the creative canvas is that it offers freedom to explore a wider territory, but where the brand still matters." (For more, including further details of this approach, read Warc's exclusive report: Procter & Gamble embraces brand activism.)

More specifically, it enables the company's brands to assist in addressing issues – both large and small – which are of importance to its target consumers.

Always, the feminine-care line, for instance, campaigned for the introduction of a more rich and diverse range of emojis depicting girls and women, as part of its ongoing campaign to build self-confidence among this audience.

"A lot of people told us what kinds of emojis they wanted; we had thousands and thousands of suggestions," Pritchard suggested.

Elsewhere, skinecare line SK-II tackled the stigma often facing women in China who are unmarried by their mid-to-late twenties, using online video to show them as empowered, successful and capable of making their own choices.

"SK-II's creative canvas is centred on the idea that women can change destiny of their skin and of their lives," Pritchard said.

"But, since most women aren't really thinking about spending hundreds of dollars on skincare every day, one of the things SKII does is invite women into the brand using beautifully crafted human stories that attract women to its promise. Then they search, and eventually end up at the counter."

Similarly, Ariel, the laundry detergent, ran a campaign in India actively seeking to challenge perceptions that washing clothes is "women's work", yielding powerful sales results while kick-starting a national dialogue.

"It's accelerating the brand's growth; it ignited brand growth in India. It's now our fastest-growing brand in India, and it's changing the conversation about the role of women in society," Pritchard said.

Data sourced from Warc