In January this year, P&G's chief brand officer stirred up a debate on the need to clean up the supply chain in digital media and build in a lot more transparency. At the IAA Cabana in Cannes Lions 2017, Pritchard continued the discussion. Excerpts:
"We spend close to 600 billion dollars a year in advertising and media. We have been pushing that we need to raise the bar on the craft of advertising content and then we need to eliminate the waste and the fraud in the digital media supply chain so that we can reinvest that money back into growth.
A recent study suggested that 40 per cent of spends by marketers reached publishers and only 25 per cent of spends reached the end consumers. That’s a lot of waste. We need to be very deliberate about cleaning that waste up.
A lot of the focus over the last few years has been about digital media and technology. While that’s exciting, we need a lot more transparency and we need to figure out what will work and what is not going to work. The industry is reacting to that and now we are also looking at how we can improve the quality of content.
Two of the biggest digital media players made presentations to the industry body Association of National Advertisers (ANA) that they are getting third party measurement, getting anti-fraud certification, adopting common standards and also paying attention to brand safety and ensuring that we are advertising on content that’s good for our brands.
They have taken us seriously. It’s taken us longer than what we wanted. The grenade went out there because of waiting for a long time and losing patience. The response is there and then the hard work starts. This will help us examine and validate what are the best investments to make for our brands.
ROI on advertising
We have made some changes in our programmatic solution. We have become very discerning about where we put our money, looking at places that have quality entertainment.
When you are buying media at such a low price, you must ask what person is actually watching that stuff. At that low a price, it’s usually a bot watching it, which does not help us. They don’t buy much toothpaste.
On the YouTube fracas
We are not fully back on YouTube. We have an absolutely zero tolerance on any form of violence, terrorism and such terrible things. There should be no reason why our ads are on such content. To YouTube’s credit, they are working very hard on that and that’s the right thing for them to do. But that’s just table stakes. The next thing to do is to evaluate what is the quality of the rest of the content that we are advertising on and evaluate if it is worth it. We are working on that.
Views on viewability
All we want to know is what viewablity we are getting. Then we decide on how much does it cost and whether it’s worth investing in. It’s not a demand for everybody to transact on the same viewability standard. That’s a different story. But the demand is for transparency in current standards.
It’s just like Nielsen ratings. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. But it’s a standard. And you at least understand it and then one can decide to transact on the basis of whether everybody has seen it or if the ad actually ran.
MRC (Media Rating Council) has a useful standard because it’s been proven to work and validated. What I am looking for now is on all these platforms what is the actual viewability related to that standard and then figure out whether it’s worth making the investment.
Brands are interested in getting enough data on an individual consumer so that we do not advertise to the same customer too many times and reach a broader audience. At least in the near future, we will be able to figure out at least where at least a part of our advertising spends are wasted and create a better customer experience and a better media experience.
Talent in marketing
They have to understand creativity with a well-developed right brain and then you have to understand logistics, technology and data much better. Then you should be able to integrate them. That requires a much higher standard of quality in the industry.
Brands taking sides in a political debate
Our philosophy is not to take a political stand point but a human point of view. Brands should focus on things that matter more to people. Gender equality is an issue that is important to 80 per cent of our consumers. When there is gender equality it’s good for society and good for growth. The issue is that there is a huge amount of gender inequality in advertising.
Creativity drives results
Creativity has to drive results. We imagine our brands as painting across the canvas and the canvas can take any medium, TV, print, Snapchat whatever it may be.
We need mass reach with precision. It seems like an oxymoron. But data allows you to identify the actual consumer and precisely reach lots of them. That’s the holy-grail. Also we do not reach them too frequently and hence we do not waste money and hence we have more money to invest in superior products and superior advertising.
Message in a nutshell
Raise the bar on the craft of all the communications and the media content on which we advertise, eliminate the waste in the media supply chain so that we can invest back in driving growth for brands and growth for the industry. If we do that, all boats will rise and life will be good."