The time of advertisers 'wandering in the desert' is over, says P&G global brand chief Marc Pritchard

The last golden age of TV and radio advertising will ”pale” in comparison with the forthcoming wave of creative opportunities unleashed by the current, connected landscape, according to Procter & Gamble (P&G) global brand building officer Marc Pritchard.

Speaking at Cannes Lions, Pritchard said the golden age of advertising during which creatives “mastered” the dominant form of media – radio and later TV – ended two decades ago, and is yet to be matched in today’s fragmented landscape.

Since then the industry has been “wandering in the desert”, looking for how to make sense of a market with numerous platforms and fragmented audiences. “How are we going to master all these platforms like we did in TV and radio? The answer is we never will. There won’t be one single way of doing things anymore. Constant change is our new reality."

The industry is still “wrestling” with the “dizzying” array of technologies in mobile, social, and cognitive reality, with advertisers now faced with an infinite number of platforms on which they can have a presence, according to Pritchard.

“In this new world how do you know when you have nailed it? How do you even know if you’re breaking through? These are questions we are all wrestling with, and are all vital for us to consider today because we are all in this together,” he added.

“We are on the precipice of a new form of advertising, and the most transformative thing in this art is that we now have a way of getting a creative idea to explode across a whole range of platforms,” he said.

Yet the opportunities that now exist and will exist in the future will push the industry to the cusp of transformation, unlocking a new golden age that will outstrip any previous success, according to Pritchard.

“I am convinced we are at the start of a historic moment of transformation and I’m so sure there has never been a more exciting time for creativity than right now…we are at the beginning of a new golden age in advertising.”

He urged advertisers to keep three core mantras at the heart of any campaign activity, beginning with something true – something based on human insight that taps into a relevant conversation that people really care about.

He referenced P&G’s Pantene Shine Strong campaign (see video below) as an example, a campaign that tackled the topic of negative female stereotypes, with ad calling for women to stop unnecessarily apologising.

The second point all advertisers must keep front of mind when tackling today’s creative challenges is the “give a crap factor”, ensuring brands find ways to make people care about having a relationship with them, and the third is to only enter conversations in which it makes sense for a brand to have a presence.

He also cited Old Spice as an example of how traditional TV ads have changed, having become an “entertainment franchise” and instead of the traditional format of being the ad people have to watch to get to the content, it has become the content itself.

“So let’s challenge ourselves every time we face a new blank canvas and ask yourself if you are approaching it with the wisdom of what is true; do we have the humility to consider why anyone would care, and are we bringing the creativity to make our brands matter.

“If we can do all that together we will create ideas that will unleash an explosion of creativity across a new creative canvas, the likes of which we have never seen before in the history of our industry. We will see ideas that break through and are picked up and continued and adopted by people who will carry them on and that is why I’m convinced that as wonderful as the previous golden age of advertising has been, they will pale in comparison to what we can do together, and there has never been a more exciting time for creativity.

“We may not get to the promised land of the new golden age of advertising yet, but we will get there,“ he said.

Earlier this year Pritchard said that the term 'digital marketing' was deadand that the future must come back to brand building.

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