'Adland’s anaemic growth rate won’t do; less crap and more progress needed' - P&G's Pritchard

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 21 June 2017
Marc Pritchard

“What the industry needs most right now is growth”, says P&G’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard.

Speaking at the Wake up with The Economist talk at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, alongside Tommy Hilfiger’s chief brand officer Avery Baker and Lenovo’s chief marketing officer and senior vice president David Roman, Pritchard said despite the amount of money spent in market, the growth rate is well below par.

“The industry is spending roughly $600 billion dollars a year on advertising and marketing and squeaking out a pretty anaemic growth rate,” Pritchard said.

“What we need is better craft in both advertising and media content in order to be able to drive growth.

“We need a transparent media supply chain that also allows us to eliminate all of the waste that is out there so we can invest back into growth.”

He said the point he made last year, which is still just as important today, is that as an industry we need “less crap, as there’s still a lot of crap in advertising”, and we instead need better craft.

He said we also now need to be turning our attention to the content.

“Looking at the content on which we advertise, and the content we create, there’s still a lot of crap there – we need to now eliminate that so we can get better content to advertise on, he said.

“If we do that, higher quality is going to drive growth.”

Pritchard hit industry headlines in January after announcing P&G would review all of its agency contracts in 2017, vowing to put an end to “murky” and “fraudulent” practices within the industry and crack down on rip-offs related to digital marketing.

During the discussion at Cannes he said the media supply train, “which is so murky, so non-transparent and so wasteful, even fraudulent”, is also where we as an industry are wasting huge amounts of money.

He said the company is “about 40 – 50%” of the way through a huge review of all of its media agency contracts in the quest for greater transparency.

According to the latest World Federation of Advertisers study only 40% of the money marketers are spending makes it to the publisher, with Pritchard commenting that this money, which is absorbed due to “the stop-offs in the middle” as well as fraud, needs to be fed back in so we can improve the ecosystem.

“Imagine if we were to take 20-30% of that money and invest it back into better advertising and better content – we would grow a lot more,” he said.

Pritchard said adland should focus less on the rivalry and share swiping, and think about how we can get the whole market to grow.

“We all grew up with the mindsets of killing each other and trying to steal share,” Pritchard explained.

“The problem with share is that what happens when you steal share? You get attacked because no one wants to lose marketer share. A better way to grow the market is to get the ‘whole market’ to grow.

“If we focus on getting more users in the market, get users to use more, buy more items and pay media that little bit higher price for a more premium quality product, then the market grows and all boats rise.”

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