Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) chief brand officer Marc Pritchard has been named Global Marketer of the Year for 2020 by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA).
Pritchard takes the crown following a turbulent 12 months, through which he has encouraged his marketing teams to focus on ‘lean innovation,’ put a laser-sharp focus on brand purpose, sustainability, and business growth, and successfully steered the business towards the calmer waters of the new normal.
The Ariel and Pampers marketing boss won following a combined vote from an expert jury and the industry at large and WFA members, with each accounting for half of the final score.
The annual contest, which runs in partnership with The Drum, is designed to celebrate the role that global and regional marketers play in changing their businesses, the industry, and society for the better.
Pritchard was one of six global marketers to be shortlisted for the award, the others were: outgoing Huawei brand chief Andrew Garrihy; Burger King's Fernando Machado; Lisa McKnight, senior vice-president and global head of Barbie and dolls portfolio at Mattel; General Mills global chief marketer Ivan Pollard and Jane Wakely, lead chief marketing officer at Mars.
How Pritchard secured the Global Marketer of the Year accolade
Pritchard has been a long-standing campaigner for change across the marketing landscape encompassing not just greater transparency in the digital supply chain, but also a more inclusive approach to messaging and the need for brands to properly reflect society in their communications.
Throughout 2020, Pritchard and his brand teams pivoted to ensure every communication they put out was “useful,” creating ‘how to’ content around key issues such as sanitising surfaces with brands Flash and Febreeze, and showing how Gillette could help with shaving for a better mask fit.
Earlier this month, the Cincinnati-based FMCG behemoth reported an 8% increase in revenue, to $19.7bn, and a 20% rise in operating profit for the most recent quarter.
The positive results directly aligned with a hike P&G's marketing spend and a commitment to purpose-led marketing.
At the start of the pandemic, P&G quickly pivoted its global disaster relief program, and donated millions of products from more than 50 of its brands, in more than 55 countries, to ensure families had basic access to everyday basics.
In the last 12 months, the business has also used its marketing muscle to fill the void left by governments in promoting mask-wearing and social distancing, as well as advancing the conversation on more controversial social issues – using brands such as Secret to highlight how women were bearing the burden of the pandemic. On top of this, it teamed up with TikTok influencer Charli D’Amelio to promote social distancing via the #DistanceDance.
A 'key leader' in the industry
“Marc has been a key leader in our industry for many years and this award is fully deserved,” said Raja Rajamannar, WFA president and chief marketing and communications officer of Mastercard, who headed up the expert jury.
He added: “In many ways he has set the standard for how marketing can drive both social change and business success. In doing so, he has helped to inspire an entire industry to improve,”
Pritchard said: "This honor goes to P&G brand builders around the world. It’s a privilege to represent their tremendous work in 2020—֫taking action to be a force for good for society and a force for growth in business. I’m humbled to accept this prestigious recognition on their behalf."
Stephan Loerke, chief executive of WFA, said: “All six of our shortlisted candidates made a brilliant case of how marketing can power up a business and, at the same time, help address some of the huge challenges that communities face.”
“It may be tough in normal times and much harder in today’s hugely challenging circumstances, but those who succeed add great value to both brands and society.”
P&G’s efforts in brand-building, innovation and social justice have previously earned Pritchard wide acclaim. The Drum named him person of the decade at the start of last year, while he was also recently honored as the Advertising Club of New York’s industry legend.
This is the fourth year that the WFA has runs its Global Marketer of the Year award. Global Marketer of the Year 2017 went to Unilever’s Keith Weed, in 2018 it was won by Mastercard’s Raja Rajamannar and in 2019 Lubomira Rochet from L’Oréal took the crown.
You can watch Prichard's take on how marketers, including his own teams, stepped up in 2020 below.