(Marc Pritchard Chief Brand Officer, Procter & Gamble and Board Chairman, ANA speaking at 4A’s Transformation 2017)
May we extend multiple kudos to the CBO at P&G for asking, “Whatever happened to the one-stop agency shop?” Perhaps you can relate. Are there too many cooks in your kitchen? The “old” concept of one agency team working on virtually all aspects of brand communication is being rediscovered. Net result: more consistent, cohesive management of the brand. We’ve found this works for large or small brands/companies alike. As always, the challenge is finding the right team.
Procter & Gamble marketing chief Marc Pritchard kicked off the second day of 4A’s Transformation by praising the global marketer’s agency partners — while imploring them to do better in the way of efficiency, productivity and creativity.
“We believe the craft of advertising is a uniquely human endeavor and it belongs in the hands of serious professionals,” he told attendees. “At the same time, we must raise the bar.” Agencies are in a “pivotal position,” he said, to find solutions to challenges like measurement, fraud and brand safety.
Pritchard charged that the agency landscape remains too complex, asking: “Whatever happened to the one-stop agency shop?” He admitted that P&G itself was part of the problem. “We fed the agency beast by hiring thousands of them,” he said, noting there are precisely 161,715 agencies in the U.S. alone. “It’s difficult to determine who is in charge of anything.” He said the company cut its number of agency partners globally by 50 percent and that 95 percent of its marketing work is now divided among fewer than 20 percent of its agencies.
Even though it has scaled back its web of agency relationships, there are still “too many cooks in the kitchen” when it comes to the creative process, Prichard said. One result is that marketers end up bombarding consumers with thousands of ads — and “there’s too much crap,” he said. “If Leo Burnett and David Ogilvy were to come back today, what do you think they would say? We’re not breaking through the clutter — we’re just creating more noise.”
Pritchard offered a particularly harsh assessment of “the brief” — which he called an oxymoron “because there’s nothing brief about it. It’s too long and there’s a lack of commitment to it. We need to rededicate ourselves to a clear and simple brief.”
He urged agencies to focus on “fewer and better [creative] ideas that last longer. We get tired of ads a lot faster than consumers do. We need to stop chasing our tails and have the courage to do less.”
me bad actors out there that maybe aren’t as forthright with their clients as we’d like them to be. But I also know this: We are better than that. We are better than that. We are not defined by salacious headlines. As an industry, we have a lot to be proud of.”