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P&G escapes real-time 'crap-trap'

News, 06 September 2016

NEW YORK: Marketers aiming to deliver real-time messaging on multiple channels risk falling into a content "crap-trap" unless they also champion creativity, according to Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at Procter & Gamble.

Speaking at a recent conference, Pritchard discussed how the firm had examined its own "hall of shame" as part of an effort to escape the "content crap-trap" – a problem which has emerged as brands roll out increasing amounts of material.

"What we found," he said, "was that in our quest to do dynamic, real-time marketing in the digital age, we were producing thousands of new ads a year, with thousands of different agencies, and millions of media plan changes." (For more, including further tips for marketers, read Warc's report: How Procter & Gamble escaped the content "crap trap".)

Pritchard highlighted creative for Oral-B featuring what appeared to be a "devil baby", as well as a video for Pepto-Bismol entitled, "The Boy Raised by Goats", as examples of where P&G's work had fallen short.

"We at P&G: we're all guilty as charged," he confessed. "We're all trying, we're all experimenting, and that's fine – that's good. And we all do this."

Drilling down into this subject, he suggested that the understandable impulse across the ad industry to reach consumers on an ongoing basis via multiple channels risked undermining their efforts, rather than building engagement.

"I guess that we thought that the best way to cut through the clutter in the digital age was to create more ads and change them exponentially. Or, alternatively, maybe we just thought consumers love our ads; they can't get enough of them," said Pritchard.

"We eventually concluded that, as the world was getting louder and more complex, we were simply just adding to the noise."

By establishing a clear sense of purpose, focusing on the true "craft" of advertising and embracing creativity, marketers can deliver powerful messaging and start tackling issues like ad blocking, P&G's brand chief argued.

"The people we serve are voting with their fingertips; they are saying that too much of our advertising is unwanted, uninteresting, uninspiring, and, therefore, ineffective," Pritchard said.

"Never accept mediocrity. Don't ever be seduced into the crap trap of just 'getting something out there'. On every part of the canvas, craft matters."

Data sourced from Warc