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P&G's Digital Push Deepens Personal Touch for Olympics and Beyond



Marc Pritchard
Global Marketing and Brand Building Officer
Procter & Gamble

As global CMO of Procter & Gamble, Marc Pritchard has overseen the “Thank You, Mom” campaign for the Olympics. Pritchard spoke with eMarketer’s Tobi Elkin about how P&G is translating the campaign across brands and countries, using digital to push the message far and wide.

eMarketer: P&G’s global “Thank you, Mom” Olympics campaign is a major tent-pole idea. How did the concept come into being?

Marc Pritchard: We briefed one of our agencies and they came back with this idea that wasn’t obvious at first glance because P&G brands like Pampers, Tide, Secret, Cover Girl and others don’t sponsor athletes. But all our brands have something to do with the Olympics because every Olympic athlete has a mom and P&G is in the business of helping moms. We have everyday products and brands that moms trust for their families. Our brands are there every day, whether it’s washing your hair, doing the laundry, brushing your teeth or wiping a countertop.

We thought, “Why don’t we just thank mom for whatever she does?” We loved the idea immediately. One of my tests is when I see great work and my spine tingles—and it was certainly tingling when I saw the idea.

[Editor’s Note: For more on the “Thank you, Mom” campaign, click here.]

“We want to try to achieve $500 million in extra sales from this campaign from April through August.”

The Olympics allows us to leverage the full breadth of P&G brands around the world. We have brands that span a person’s lifetime, from Pampers diapers to Fixodent dentures and everything in between. The Olympics was an opportunity to bring all of those brands together in one big idea that we can bring to consumers around the world.

We participated in the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 with 16 brands. The London Olympics is a bigger opportunity to unite more brands under the P&G umbrella. We’ll have 34 brands participating in the London Olympics, spanning across 150 athletes. The campaign will activate in 73 countries and be in more than 4 million stores around the world.

eMarketer: What are your goals for this massive effort?

Pritchard: The goals for the entire Olympics effort are to build the sales of our brands. We’ve gone on record saying that we want to try to achieve $500 million in extra sales from this campaign from April through August. Obviously, we want our brands to grow and we also want to connect with consumers on a much more one-to-one basis through social media and our online activities. We’re trying to create a whole new relationship with our consumers.

“We can measure the effectiveness of digital media, and it’s actually one of the highest ROI activities right now because there is a much higher level of engagement.”

eMarketer: You’ve got an ambitious sales goal. How are you thinking about tying millions of impressions back to sales since that’s what really matters?

Pritchard: We’ll measure them. We have return-on-investment measurements and have been using ROI measurements for almost a decade now. We can measure the effectiveness of digital media, and it’s actually one of the highest ROI activities right now because there is a much higher level of engagement. If you can target your communications more effectively and get people to engage, then it does generate a higher purchase intent. We’ve also worked with all of our retailers that have put up some magnificent displays and merchandising in stores around “Thank you, Mom.”

eMarketer: Can you offer an example of how your marketing and PR activities have changed as a result of digital marketing and media?

Pritchard: Tide’s news desk approach is an example of a brand being always on and assessing what’s happening in popular culture so it can make connections. For example, Tide sponsored the “Tide Ride” NASCAR vehicle. This year, there was an oil spill on a track and to remove the oil, they put Tide on it and cleaned it up. The Tide team immediately jumped on that, tweeted it and posted it on Facebook. We bought the rights for the visuals from the video, shot an ad and in 72 hours, it was up and we were talking about it. This was worth about $8 million in TV media and we spent maybe $100,000.

This enabled us to be part of popular culture on a real-time basis, and reinforce the superior benefit of our brands. The tagline was, “You keep coming up with tough stains and we keep coming up with ways to get them out.” That’s the kind of thing that the digital world allows you to do, and we’re seeing more and more of this daily activity as we launched the Olympics effort.

eMarketer: Can you tell me a bit about your budget and what percentage of your ad spending budget is paid digital media?

Pritchard: I can’t give you the exact amount, but I will tell you that more than a third of the impressions that we have are coming through digital—that’s both paid and earned. We’re really reluctant to provide anybody with any dollar figure because that would be proprietary information that our competitors would just love to have. But it’s definitely going up.

“More than a third of the impressions that we have are coming through digital—that’s both paid and earned.”

eMarketer: Would you say it represents a low double-digit increase year over year?

Pritchard: I don’t even think about it that way. I think about it more in terms of the percentage of time that people are engaging with digital. Moms will spend anywhere from 30% to 40% of their time engaging with digital content. That’s why the mobile piece is going to be even more important. It’s becoming an even bigger portion of how they’re getting information about brands.

A longer version of this interview is available to eMarketer Total Access clients only. If you’d like to learn more about becoming a Total Access client, click here.

Check out today’s other articles, “Brands and Retailers Coordinate Online CPG Sales” and “Broadcasters in Canada Take to the Web for the Games.”

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