P&G’s Marc Pritchard: ‘We’re 50% complete on transparency overhaul’

Marc Pritchard on track to complete agency reviews by end of year

Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) top marketer has said that it is “about 40 – 50%” of the way through a massive review of all of its media agency contracts in the quest for greater transparency.

Marc Pritchard’s comments at the beginning of the year on the “murky at best, fraudulent at worst” media supply chain rang through the industry and put its agencies on alert as the marketer claimed that he would be looking at all contacts as part of a four-point plan to bring clarity to its media buying.

“We’re about 40-50% complete,” he said at the Cannes Lions Festival today (20 June).

Pritchard has also said that as part of this landmark review of its media dealings, it will no longer be reliant on media owners to measure their own inventory, with the FMCG business expecting every media supplier - including publishers and measurement vendors - to adopt MRC-accredited third party verification during 2017.

P&G is now also insisting that any entity touching digital media must become TAG-certified during 2017 to help ensure that it is free from fraud.

“The players in the digital industry have stepped up and they understand this and they’re making progress,” he continued.

“It needs to happen. They’re long overdue. And we need to keep going. So hopefully by the end of this calendar year we’ll be at a place….but then the hard part starts. Once you have transparency across all platforms then you can evaluate more clearly how one medium compares to another.”

However, he was eager to stress that this doesn’t mean P&G is playing it safe with its media buys. Pritchard said it will still experiment with emerging platforms and technologies but simply no longer accepts that he can’t get metrics back on how effective those tests are.

“The mindset that because something is a new technology it doesn’t have to adhere to standards is a head fake. You’re trying to dodge the reality. Of course, we want to have new innovations, and of course do continue to do things, and digital technology brings that. But before [the industry] invests $72bn on digital we need to know what we’re getting and how many people we’re reaching, and where and how they engaged.”

Joining Pritchard on the panel was Avery Baker, chief brand officer at Tommy Hilfiger, who said it was on a similar journey, although lagging P&G.

“We need to benchmark against media in a much more consistent way,” Avery said. “I wish we were at 40% but we’ve still some way to go.”

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