Procter & Gamble chief brand officer Marc Pritchard said he wanted to “take back control” of his marketing budget and he’s doing so; creating a dedicated full service agency from Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi, WPP’s Grey and Omnicom’s Hearts & Science and PR firm Marina Maher Communications to handle the CPG giant’s North America fabric care business.
The move goes one step further than Johnson & Johnson’s rationalisation of its advertising into standalone Omnicom and WPP agencies.
Pritchard (below) says: “We need to continue to raise the bar on creativity and the ability to reach consumers in a new way. The way things are moving, it’s (about) much more mass reach but with greater one-to-one precision and far more creative engagement with consumers. It’s a new model. That requires new agency models.”
P&G used the same approach for its recent “It’s a Tide Ad” Super Bowl effort and Pritchard says: “What we found, when you have a Super Bowl or Olympics deadline, you have high degrees of speed and focus and make things happen. What we want to really do is institutionalise that approach.”
He says he wants to increase the number of creative people working on his business to over 50 per cent as part of an efficiency drive aimed at, among other things, reducing P&G’s marketing costs by a further $400m by 2012.
Agencies would argue that account people, planners and all the other bods that Pritchard reckons he doesn’t need are crucial to producing well thought out advertising but Pritchard obviously thinks P&G can do the strategy itself. He also says he wants to bring digital media buying in-house where he can, a blow to Omnicom’s Hearts & Science which only won P&G’s North America media buying less than two years ago.
Pritchard and other marketers who think like him or take a lead from him may or may not be right. Agencies, currently reduced to rolling on their backs with their paws in the air, are clearly unwilling to argue with such mighty clients.
Whatever happens this looks like another coach and horses galloping through holding company margins.