Why P&G Is Leaning On Brands To Lead The Next Wave Of Disruption

In his keynote at the Association of National Advertisers' annual media conference Thursday, Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard reaffirmed a mantra he  has been lobbying for several years now -- that big brands need to be a "force for good" as well as a "force for growth."

But if I'm not mistaken, he seemed to raise the bar that it's now time for brands to take an even more heroic position in society that -- to quote an actual superhero, Spiderman -- "with great power comes great responsibility."

"The events of 2020 and 2021 have elevated the role of brands," Pritchard told the hybrid conference attendees and online viewers, ticking off three main areas: privacy, transparency and equity. '

But given the "perpetual state of disruption" in the media industry, as well as society-at-large, he alluded to raising the bar even further, noting: "We need to be the ones leading constructive disruption."

In many ways, Pritchard's keynote was a summary of the best practices brands should employ for managing those disruptions today, but during a pre-conference briefing, he acknowledged to me that leading brands also need to lead the next frontier of disruption, including taking a stand on societal issues that previously would have been politically unthinkable for most brands.



Asked how brands can do that when people seem so divided on what we would have taken for granted just a few years ago -- things like democracy, the rule of law and racism -- Pritchard told me that brands and companies still need to be "discerning about where they choose to take a stand.

"For example, as one of the world’s largest advertisers, we choose to use our voice in advertising to take a stand against bias and promote equality," he said.

"We do so because the images in advertising affect perceptions that can lead to bias," he continued, adding, " So our voice matters.  Examples include 'Always Like a Girl,' 'Olay Face Anything' and 'Ariel Share the Load' taking a stand for gender equality."

And as for racial equality, he cited P&G's "The Talk," "The Look," and "Redefine Black."

4 comments about "Why P&G Is Leaning On Brands To Lead The Next Wave Of Disruption".
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  1. Alvin Silk from Harvard Business School, June 21, 2021 at 11:46 a.m.

    It would be interesting to hear what Marc Pritchard thinks about the doctrine of 'permissable puffery"?

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 21, 2021 at noon

    It might also be time for the "brands" to take an active interest in media audience measurement and improved ways to target consumers--and pony up singnificant sums to  develop and fund new kinds of audience metrics---like attentive commercial viewers not just might be commercial viewers. How about it, Marc?

  3. David Scardino from TV & Film Content Development replied, June 21, 2021 at 2:24 p.m.

    Demonstrably in favor, no...?

  4. David Scardino from TV & Film Content Development, June 21, 2021 at 2:26 p.m.

    Actually, my comment if in reply to Mr. Silk's comment.

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