'Don’t ever accept mediocrity': P&G’s Marc Pritchard tells marketers to stop putting out crappy ads

Credit: Clarion Pictures

Over the past few years, consumers have been plagued with a flurry of bad ads as brands try to figure out how to best connect with consumers in today’s mobile-first, social media-obsessed world. While some brands have enjoyed success, many haven’t, and issues like viewability, ad skipping and the rise of ad blocking have only made things more complicated for marketers.

Speaking at the ANA Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando, Procter & Gamble’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard explained to attendees how many of the company’s brands, including Tide, Always and Pantene, have combated these issues by putting a premium on creativity.

During his talk, Pritchard admitted that many of P&G’s brands have done their fair share of bad advertising. He cited a bizarre Pepto-Bismol video about a boy raised by goats and a strange Pantene post featuring enchiladas as just a few examples of the company’s sub-par advertising, explaining that ads like these are what prompted P&G to rethink its creative approach.

“In our quest to do dynamic, real-time marketing in the digital age, we were producing literally thousands of new ads,” he said. “We eventually concluded that while the world was getting louder, all we were doing was adding to the noise. We decided to step up our game and give consumers the experience they deserve. We’ve made a choice to raise the bar on creativity, because the consumers that we serve deserve our very best, and it is the key to unlocking growth.”

By following three guideposts, which are “express the brand as a masterpiece painted on a creative canvas,” “elevate the craft,” and “embrace creativity as a human endeavor,” Pritchard said that P&G has been able to dig itself out of the “content crap trap” and produce advertising that its brands can be proud of.

“Advertising is a skill. It requires mastery, technique and imagination to make brand ideas meaningful and memorable,” he said. “Craftsmanship is visual artistry, verbal poetry, design aesthetics, and it’s the work of masters. It belongs in the hands of serious professionals. Don’t ever accept mediocrity. Don’t be seduced into the crap trap of just getting something out there.”

He cited Always’ iconic “#LikeAGirl,” Pantene’s Dad-Do campaign, and Ariel’s #ShareTheLoad initiative assome of the best work that P&G has done since implementing this new approach, stating that each all three brands have experienced growth since.

During his talk, Pritchard also told marketers that the industry in general is spending too much time on measuring ads and not enough time on creating quality ones.

“We’re fiddling with measurement debates while consumers are blocking our ads,” he said. “Measurement is not going to make crappy advertising better. It’s time to insist that all media partners adopt common, transparent measurement standards and accept third party verification. We need to stop wasting time on measurement transactions, and invest in what’s really important, which is elevating the craft of our work.”

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