Pritchard Stirs The Pot Again: P&G CMO’s next salvo for digital

By - CTL
July 31, 2017

By Marcus Honesta.

Never one to shy away from controversial speeches, P&G’s Marc Pritchard is now encouraging the marketing industry to get its act together to enforce changes. CTL highlighted his original address in my article on February the 7th Stop This Fraud”.

Procter & Gamble’s chief brand officer questioned the honesty and legitimacy of the entire digital marketing platform in late January when he laid “Digital Media’s Failings Bare” in an, address, it put media agencies, ad tech and others involved in the “murky supply chain of kick-backs, insufficient viewability, ad fraud and suspect measurement”, on a year’s notice “to clean up their act and meet its new demands or the world’s biggest advertiser would take its money elsewhere”.

He is he says doing this to make, P&G’s commitment to “a single accountability standard and implementing accredited third-party measurement verification resonated very loudly around the world”.

Although not the only one to voice such concerns, Keith Weed Unilever’s marketing chief says “digital platforms to be more accountable around what he dubs the 3V’s: Value Viewability and Verification”.

Thinking back to his motivation for making the speech and the intended reaction, Pritchard told Marketing Week that there was no single incident or lightbulb moment but a combination of factors that provoked him to enter the debate. “I wanted to compel action and I wanted to do it in such a way that laid out the problem in as respectful a way as possible, but also as firm a way as possible, to indicate we have to make this change. It wasn’t to anyone, it was to all. And I tried to use our action plan as a way of [suggesting] this is an industry-wide issue that we need to deal with.”

And while those initial comments ignited the fires of the marketing and media press, Pritchard also reported that his peers in the industry have reacted favourably to his outburts.

“We have used this as an opportunity to put the same standards on digital media that we put on every other media. I literally said this is our plan and you are more than welcome to take it. It’s encouraging that people were coming back and saying ‘thanks for that, that was a useful roadmap’, we’re going to do that and then they started making the same demands. What I was surprised by – but it was a pleasant surprise – is the reaction of the industry. A lot of companies were appreciative that P&G stepped out and said things.”

Pritchard maintains continued progress will only happen if it’s a collective effort. “When the industry takes the action, not any one but the whole takes action, to demand transparency, to demand brand safety, what happens is change occurs and it’s positive change.”

After an investigation by The Times saw adverts from major brands appearing next to content posted by terrorists on Youtube, many have raised concerns about the validity of digital marketing efforts via these kinds of channels.

Youtube’s owner Google has made several changes to placate brands’ concerns, but many brands have dropped the channel  until they are satisfied enough has been done.

He applauds what Google has done to address the issue: “What has been important about this is they’re trying to stepping up. They recognised the issue and they have been humble and been very active in trying to figure this out and we’re working with them very closely to try and make sure of that”.

“They have to keep going because it’s a big challenge but it’s important. We have used this as an opportunity to put the same standards on digital media that we put on every other media. We have worked with Google on what those standards are, and with Facebook, so we are clear on what’s OK and what’s not OK.”

He finished by saying: “You can no longer be a marketer that’s an advertising and media person, and you can’t be successful just as an analytical person. You have to be a blend of both. You need to be able to see the big picture and drill down to the small picture. Marketing today and into the future means you have to be increasingly well rounded.”

Finally there is a powerful marketer who has had enough, and prepared to call it out and not let it go. If you need further convincing, I urge you to read my article of the 16th of March “Mark Ritson slays digital content video as a ‘Tsunami of Horse Sh*t’!!!!!”

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