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P&G dumps digital deadbeats

News, 31 January 2017

HOLLYWOOD, FL: Procter & Gamble, the FMCG giant, is implementing a non-negotiable five-point program as it seeks to identify which agencies, publishers and measurement providers are willing to proactively clean up the digital ecosystem.

Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at P&G – which makes products like Crest toothpaste, Pampers diapers and Tide detergent – discussed this topic at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB) 2017 Annual Leadership Meeting.

The first major "action" being pursued by the Cincinnati-based firm requires its partners to embrace the Media Rating Council's (MRC) standards for ad viewabilty – an area currently beset by inconsistency, confusion and inefficiency.

"We're accepting a shared level of error in order to conduct business on a level playing field across platforms and publishers. But we expect all of our agencies, media suppliers and platforms to adopt the standard during 2017," Pritchard said. (For more, read Warc's exclusive report: P&G's Pritchard to digital deadbeats: Game over.)

Similarly, P&G is now insisting on the use of accredited third-party measurement. In pursuit of this goal, Pritchard noted, it is allowing an "ample grace period" to cover off complex issues like data privacy. But concrete progress is still a must.

"At P&G, we're expecting every media supplier – including publishers and measurement vendors – to adopt MRC-accredited, third-party verification during 2017," he added.

Turning to agencies, Pritchard reported that every contract will rest on "full transparency by the end of 2017", with stipulations that funds are only used for media payments, rebates are disclosed and returned, and all transactions open to audit.

A desire for greater transparency is also shaping the fourth of P&G's digital priorities: namely, tackling ad fraud. And to address this problem, it is working with external specialists like the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG).

"Outside experts have a much higher probability of staying ahead of the criminals than we ever will," said Pritchard. "We are insisting that any entity touching digital media must get TAG-certified during 2017 to help ensure they are free from fraud."

As the ultimate holder of the purse strings, P&G has the power to "vote with our dollars" – a fifth tactic it can employ to prompt agencies, vendors and publishers to enter a new era of digital marketing.

"The consequences are crystal clear: If they don't take these steps, we will work with, and buy media from, only the entities that comply, so we know that the ads we create are experienced by the consumers we serve in the most productive way," said Pritchard.

Data sourced from Warc