Having overhauled its digital supply chain, P&G is now turning to Disney and Target to help it bring accountability its linear TV spend.
The FMGC giant’s US fabric care business is among the first clients to make use of a collaboration between Disney’s ad sales division and Target’s in-house media company Roundel, which lets brands that buy ads across the former’s network (like ABC or ESPN) connect the dots between their spend and sales of their products in Target in real-time.
The data covers both online and bricks-and-mortar sales from across Target’s 1800 stores.
Disney is pitching the product as a way that lets marketers measure the effectiveness of their TV buys in a way “goes beyond a CPM and a media schedule". It has also claimed there’s a 70% audience overlap between its own customers and Target’s.
P&G’s North America fabric care media director, Jason Finck, sees the partnership as an opportunity to help P&G solve the “linear TV crisis” it's facing.
In a heavily saturated market, the world’s second-biggest advertiser still funnels a huge chunk of its $7.1bn ad spend into TV, but for Finck, the challenge has been evaluating the return on its traditional spend.
“We haven’t found many willing partners to come on that journey with us,” he said during a panel last week at Advertising Week New York.
“There’s a tremendous amount of inertia in the industry and despite a lot of well-intentioned [iniatives] we don’t see the progress we’d like to. It’s exciting to see [the Disney-Target collaboration] because that’s what’s going to create change – it’s going to fall to the publishers, the advertisers and the retailers to come together and creating the industry we want to see,” he added.
Krisi Argylian, president of Roundel, said Target has already been using this “closed loop” data to measure the impact of its own TV spend and it’s seeing “significant” returns upwards of 40%.
“To be able to bring it to the marketplace, because we know it answers brands questions is really important to us,” she said.
The move from Disney and Target comes as advertisers are decreasing their linear spend in favour of OTT and addressable solutions, with Videology noting last year that just 12% of marketers and agencies planned to increase their traditional spend versus the 29% that wanted to up their connected TV investment.
Finck said the real-time element of Roundel and Disney’s offering was crucial to P&G’s decision to invest, but also reiterated the need for sales-based transparent measurement systems.
“For us there’s only one measure of success which is sales impact, we’re now starting to see the data, capabilities and the willingness of partners to come together and create that practical measurement system we want,” he said.
He added: “On other platforms it’s easy to connect the impressions back to the sales. In the linear TV space it’s always been more difficult to do that. When we know the ROI on our spend, it’s easier for us to make investment decisions. The exciting part about this is the ability to do it in real time, you know then what your sales and profit situation is – if you don’t have that, you default back to where we talk about price and chase the market down.”
Over the past three years, P&G has “dramatically” increased its media spend, cutting digital spend by $200m and reinvesting the money into areas with “media reach” including TV, audio and e-commerce.
Following on from chief marketing officer Marc Prichard’s famous 2017 “murky at best, fraudulent at worst” speech in which he outlined a plan to cut the Dove owner’s agency roster and eliminate ineffective marketing buys, the fabric care arm of the business took the “drastic” step to begin zero-based budgeting across its entire brand portfolio including Tide, Bounce and Downy. But as a result it’s grown our reach, increased its effectiveness and cut waste.
“Our media spend has grown dramatically over the last three or four years even adjusted for inflation,” said Finck, adding that partnerships with the likes of Target and Disney were going to be a key element of the its media blueprint going ahead.
“This is the way we want to move forward, if we can measure it and it can deliver a sales lift then we’re ready to engage,” he explained.
Target unveiled the freshly-rebranded Roundel (formerly known as the Target Media Network) in May this year, pitching the in-house agency as a “natural extension” of its retail business. The ad arm helps brands run display ads on Target.com but also creates campaigns and content for clients across the brand and agency spectrum.