TV Upfront Disruption To Come: P&G Says Enough FOMO

The pull of the upfront TV advertising market is obvious to Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer of Procter & Gamble. And wrong. And misnamed. 

Better try calling it FOMO, he says: Fear of Missing Out.

“Every year, we march to the upfronts and rush to buy as much as possible as soon as possible, so we can to get the best ‘bulk deal,” he said during an Association of National Advertisers virtual conference presentation.

Now P&G, among the biggest TV advertisers, wants to switch gears. Possibly no upfront deal-making or at least more flexible upfront deals. And perhaps no packaging of media agency clients budgets with P&G’s budgets. All this to leverage big dollars against TV networks to get the lowest price.

“We almost always end up buying too much. But we can buy ‘options’ to return some spending without penalty — and to avoid the open ‘scatter market,’ where even higher prices are extremely punishing.” 



“Buying too much inventory is inefficient at best, and at worst, leads to excess frequency through heavy ad loads in programs — annoying consumers and wasting money.”

In that regard, P&G wants what any big marketer wants — more control.

“To level the playing field, we negotiate directly with as many as possible. Our agencies help us and have an important role as contributing partners, but we are in the lead.”

Much of this has been reiterated from earlier ANA task force report of 13 major TV marketers, including P&G, which was released during the height of the pandemic. The report said there is a need to move to a calendar year TV buying schedule, better “realistic” research, flexibility and more transparency.

In his recent remarks, Pritchard said it's not just TV networks that need to change, but big walled-gardens of four major digital media players who “dominate and share as little information as possible.” Many cite “privacy” issues. He says this “must change, too.”

As such, Pritchard set out a goal of getting a “validated” cross-platform measurement in place by next September. 

In response, TV advertising executives believe major TV marketers and TV network sellers will seek new technology— especially when cost issues keep going higher.

Aaron Goldman, Chief Marketing Officer at Mediaocean, the media software/advertising technology company, told TV Watch:  "The TV upfront is still relevant and essential for achieving scale, but it will work in concert with technology that enables more agility and inherently makes the process more transparent." 

The bottom line of transparency: Who really sees this point of view?

3 comments about "TV Upfront Disruption To Come: P&G Says Enough FOMO".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 25, 2020 at 2:09 p.m.

    "Our agencies help us"-??? in what? Buying national network time---or merely in a clerical or "support" role---like supplying Nielsen data, CPM estimates, etc.???Who actually negotiates with the sellers----the P&G brand managers? I doubt it. P&G's media mavens? Maybe---but with agency "help"?" How would that work? Frankly,this sounds like a lot of double talk---but, as I have said in previous comments here and elsewhere, maybe  this is merely a way to apply pressure on the agencies and sellers to do better "by levelling the playing field", whatever that means and by permitting "better targeting", but at low CPMs.. And, maybe, the agencies will continue to buy national TV time for P&G in the upfront---but with greater P&G "involvement" or "control". We shall see.

  2. Marc Goldstein from Media Solutions LLC, September 25, 2020 at 8:07 p.m.

    If P&Gs fiscal year starts July 1, theoretically they have annual media plans through the following June. Therefore they have brand plans for 3 quarters of an upfront market, 4th, 1st, and 2nd. That’s a significant advantage vs companies whose fiscal is Jan 1 and may just be starting, probably too early, planning for their next fiscal year. The only quarter, 4th , has planned expenditures while the 3 quarters beginning January are estimated. I’d think that’s an advantage in the current scenario. 

  3. Todd W Rankin from Ampersand, October 1, 2020 at 4:07 p.m.

    “Buying too much inventory is inefficient at best, and at worst, leads to excess frequency through heavy ad loads in programs?" Uhm, if i see one more Tide ad this week via my Zynga Words With Friends ap, i think i will shoot myself. I have been exposed at least 17x this week. Good news:  2 ads are rotated. Better news: i can hack it pretty fast and watch only 5-6 seconds of the attempted exposure. X button - delete delete delete

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