Marc Pritchard, the chief brand officer of Procter & Gamble, has called for the marketing industry to become more purpose-driven in its approach, as this strategy could help fuel positive changes across society as a whole.

“Understanding leads to attitude change, which leads to behavior change, which leads to action,” Pritchard told delegates at Advertising Week New York 2018 during a seminar held by the ANDY Awards. (For more, read WARC's in-depth report: P&G’s Pritchard makes a pitch for a purpose-driven marketing industry.)

“And change won’t come,” the brand chief at the world’s biggest advertiser continued, “if leaders can’t come to grips [with it] and aren’t willing to go ahead and weather the storm.”

The upside? “What’s exciting for me about the work that’s happening today is that people are stepping up,” he offered. “And they’re stepping up to do good work like this. And it makes a difference.”

As proof, Pritchard cited two examples. The first was Nike’s “Dream Crazy”, a campaign starring Colin Kaepernick, an NFL quarterback who received criticism from certain groups for protesting about racial injustice during the national anthem.

The second illustration highlighted by Pritchard was “Peace Briefs”, a marketing/clothing-line initiative produced by a collaborative team, and that seeks to help young people in inner cities peacefully express their beliefs and values.

Keith Cartwright, executive creative director at agency 72andSunny and a member of the SATURDAY MORNING group that put together the clothing line and a Cannes Lions-winning campaign, was a central figure in this effort.

“Hopefully,” Pritchard said, “we can encourage everybody to keep doing this kind of work and recognise that we’re going to have some ups and downs. But if you have it deep in your heart, if you know in your soul what’s right, you’ll go forward.”

By embracing a new type of leadership with such work, he added, “You don’t have to feel uncomfortable. But you have to feel something.”

P&G, under Pritchard’s guidance, has delivered a stream of purpose-driven advertising, from the female empowerment of Always’ “#LikeAGirl” to Ariel detergent’s “#Juanwash”, which tackled gender inequality.

And “#LoveOverBias”, the latest installation of P&G’s “Proud Sponsor of Moms” program that ran at the 2018 Winter Olympics, is “probably one of the best examples of some work that we’ve done,” he said.

This campaign actively championed athletes who push back against outmoded social norms. “We took some heat for this,” Pritchard informed the Advertising Week assembly.

But, in the face of this opposition, P&G made the choice to “double down in advertising spending and public relations. We said, ‘We’re going to charge right through,’” said Pritchard.

Sourced from WARC