COLOGNE: Advertising stands on the brink of a new wave of brand building innovation, according to Procter & Gamble’s chief brand officer, who has called on the industry to raise the bar on quality and placement.

Speaking at the dmexco conference last week, Marc Pritchard observed that, with digital adspend overtaking investment in television globally, the marketing dream of mass, one-to-one communications is now within reach.

But there are significant “growing pains” that are only part-way solved, he added. For more, read WARC’s report: P&G’s Pritchard: A new wave of brand building innovation beckons.)

“Perhaps the loudest alarm is that despite spending an astounding $600 billion a year on marketing, our collective industries still aren’t growing enough,” he noted. “You might say: never have so many done so much for so little.”

Marketers need to “accelerate the next transformation of brand building”, he said, working more efficiently to communicate with consumers in personalised and relevant ways – and also using their influence to improve consumer experiences and people’s lives.

Issues around viewability, measurement, and brand safety are being addressed and when these “common-sense steps, long overdue” are complete, Pritchard said, brands can then rethink the way they advertise online, with their focus on how to help – rather than irritate – consumers.

Solving the problem of annoying ads is essential, he stated. As an example of how this might be achieved he cited P&G’s Pampers nappy brand, which tailors information for new parents right from the time of a mother-to-be’s first Google search – “I’m pregnant” – with useful guides, answers to likely questions, offers, and messages on special days.

Such an approach is, he argued, “the next powerful transformation of brand building”.

He further maintained that large advertisers have a duty to use their influence and voice as a force for effecting social change for the greater good.

P&G has been focused on equality for women via its Like a Girl series of ads for the Always feminine hygiene brand; 76% of people now view the expression “like a girl” as a positive statement compared to just 19% before the campaign, he reported.

“The fact is: if we all raise the bar and transform ourselves, we can accelerate market growth, and that lifts all boats. All of us, especially consumers, will benefit,” he said.

Data sourced from WARC