P&G’s Marc Pritchard on ‘reinventing’ advertising through film in a streaming landscape

Queen Collective is launching two films, including If There Is Light & Ballet After Dark / P&G

As one of the world’s largest advertisers, Procter and Gamble’s (P&G) chief brand officer Marc Pritchard believes his company has a unique ability “reinvent” advertising.

His bet is on long-form, engaging content that combines the worlds of filmmaking and advertising.

“Ads need an overhaul in a lot of different ways, so what we're doing is looking at creative partnerships in different genres to create...films,” Pritchard told The Drum.

“The entertainment world has always been important to our brands because we typically advertise on those kinds of programs, but now what we're doing is trying to get more involved in it because it's really stretching our creativity and helping us come up with some really amazing new ways to engage consumers.”

P&G’s newest project is Queen Collective, a branded docu-series in partnership with Tribeca Studios and Queen Latifah spotlighting diverse women in filmmaking. The two sub-20 minute pieces are streaming on Hulu, a calculated decision as Pritchard sees more marketing dollars flow toward streaming services.

“The reason why it's important is because over-the-top streaming is growing exponentially. That's requiring a whole new level of creativity,” said Pritchard. “The way we're adapting to it is creating partnerships like we've done here with Queen Collective.”

Queen Collective doesn't advertise any P&G products. Pritchard said it's more of a "back to the future" campaign with a 'brought-to-you-by' message upfront, rather than integrating into or overtly advertising within the series.

Pritchard did say it’s still “early days” for streaming, and so some brands will spend more in the channel than others. He added that streaming’s lean toward younger audiences “obviously” makes it a viable marketing play.

A recent study from OpenX showed that 52% of Americans use an OTT service, including 65% of people age 18-34.

As the rise of streaming services has created an explosion of original content and a re-thinking of traditional ad formats, Pritchard said the constraints on typical ad lengths are fading – all that matters is “how long does it take to create a good story” that conveys a brand’s message.

When it comes to branded filmmaking, Pritchard said P&G's “most advanced” brand is likely Japanese cosmetics line SK-II.

In February, the brand released Meet Me Halfway, a four-minute short on the stories of three single Chinese women facing pressure to get married. Last month it aired an online show with James Corden and actress Chloe Grace Moretz, which earned over 40m views.

While P&G has taken considerable steps to reshape its agency model, Pritchard said the company is working with a variety of content partners – such as Tribeca Studios – on its filmmaking efforts.

Though P&G brands don't necessarily cooperate with one another as more enter the movie business, Pritchard said, “We've usually found within our company that when one brand does something really innovative, then other brands want to try it.”

Pritchard's intention to "reinvent" advertising, instead of betting on long-form, engaging content that combines the worlds of filmmaking and advertising, is illustrated by launch of 'Out of the Shadows' - a P&G film that tells the story of LGBT+ staff in the '90s.

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