P&G snubs 30-second spot, claims shorter ads have better recall

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 8 September 2014

Shorter ads are more effective than longer ones, according to Procter & Gamble, which, as well embarking on a wholesale cost-cutting programme, is shifting its investment towards running more 15-second ads than 30-second spots.

Speaking at the Back to School Consumer Confidence conference in Boston, last week, chief financial officer Jon Moeller said P&G plans to do “more with less” by making its ads “shorter, but stronger”. It claims ad recall is stronger from 15-second spots, rather than 30 second spots with general recall sitting around 35% for 15-second ads and around 20% for 30-second spots.

The FMCG firm's ongoing efficiency drive will also see it cutting the number of local and regional brand ambassadors it uses to front its ad campaigns, shifting to more globalised celebrity ambassadors, he said. It will look to cut its spend in this area by 50%. However, it is understood that P&G Australia will contnue to use local famous faces because "global just doesn't work here," according to a source close to P&G.

Moeller used Head & Shoulders, the world's number one shampoo brand he said, as an example claiming a 15-second spot had higher recall than the category average and than a 30-second spot, and cost less to air on TV.

The brand will now focus on Sofia Vergara and Lionel Messi across more than 20 markets instead of local ambassadors in each market.

“The right spokesperson... can be effective across many markets. We want high return, high impact marketing execution at a lower cost [than traditional advertising]. [With Head & Shoulders, we] significantly reduced cost while driving growth. It's the number one brand globally, a $3 billion brand and it grew in mid-single digital last year.”

P&G is trying to take costs out of its marketing to reinvest in innovation and the move follows the announcement last month that it plans to axe 100 brands to streamline its product portfolio and focus on those with the highest profit margin.

The aim is to end up with a “more simple, more agile” business, said Moeller, adding that it is pursuing a more “optimised mix” of marketing channels using more efficient mobile, digital and social media . He citied the Rewrite the Rules campaign for feminine care brand Always as an example. Moeller claimed that the #likeagirl campaign achieved 4.4 billion impressions in over 20 countries and 47 million YouTube views from social sharing that the brand didn't pay for.

“We are bringing focus back to brands and brand promise to drive trial and encourage loyalty. As we generate efficiencies in marketing spending we will look for good opportunities to put those savings back to work to drive growth,” he said.

It is increasing its efforts to get consumers to trial its products with investment in sampling, such as targeting college-age men with samples of the Gillette Pro-Glide.

The core 80 brands that P&G will retain account for 90% of sales and more than 95% of profit.

Some brands are being discontinued, folded into other brands, or grouped together. P&G has already sold off its pet care business in Australia with Mars acquiring the Iams, Eukanuba and Natura brands.

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