Procter & Gamble 375

The world’s largest advertiser is “reinventing media,” its Chief Brand Officer told 3,000 marketing professionals at last week’s Association of National Advertisers Annual Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando. Procter & Gamble’s Mark Pritchard said the consumer packaged goods giant is moving from “mass blasting” with a lot of waste to “mass reach with one-to-one precision” through data, analytics and digital technology, according to MediaPost.

Mass reach remains a core component of P&G’s marketing strategy. That’s one reason it’s become one of radio’s top advertisers. But P&G is also using data it has collected on its consumers to provide greater effectiveness and efficiency. The company has created its own database of more than 1.5 billion consumer IDs. For example, by analyzing TV set-top-box data, P&G’s U.S. Tide brand discovered it was reaching the same household 22 times a month with TV, so it trimmed the excess and placed ads with greater precision in programs to avoid the annoying experience of seeing the same ad over and over again, MediaPost reports.

“In the past five years, we’ve achieved substantial media savings and efficiencies, which we’re reinvesting to reach even more people,” Pritchard said. “We’re disrupting the definition of the ‘world’s largest advertiser’: It’s not who spends the most, it’s who reaches the most people efficiently and effectively to drive growth.”

Pritchard famously overhauled P&G’s media strategy after realizing it had over-invested in narrowly targeted digital media, cutting more than $100 million in digital ad spend in 2017. Pritchard reflected on that pivot during his speech in Orlando: “After years of higher digital media spending with little visibility, we had enough.”

His company spent $6.75 billion on advertising in 2019, while “calling for industrywide digital media transparency – demanding transparent, third-party-verified data on ad viewability, audience reach measurement, agency contracts, ad fraud prevention and brand safety. This first step is largely complete, and it exposed substantial waste, so we reduced wasteful spending and reinvested into better-performing media.”

While he didn’t single it out, one of those “better-performing media” is radio, where P&G has become a top 5 advertiser. One week earlier at the Radio Show in Dallas, P&G Senior Media Analyst John Fix explained the CPG giant’s return to radio. “We do know that advertising works. We do know that we can buy radio and see a good result as it goes to our reach,” Fix told the Radio Show crowd. Yet despite its significant radio outlay, Fix said “it’s safe to say we’re still testing it” and it will still be a while before the data-obsessed company knows for sure. That jibed with what Pritchard said in a more general sense about how the company uses data to target. “When we have data, it just gives us more options,” he said in an interview with CNBC following his ANA presentation. “We can identify other places where we can reach people. If we can work with an existing company, any company, whether it be walled garden or not, and get some good precision and get some good reach and cap frequency and all that, then we go for that.”