Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard this morning issued a “call for innovation” to effectively end the upfront media buying process – especially its exaggerated audience estimates and guarantees – to create a more efficient marketplace that eliminates excess advertising frequency and improves the consumer’s experience.
Pritchard, who made the call during a keynote presentation at the Association of National Advertisers Media Conference, declared the upfront buying process "incredibly inefficient," adding, "“Do we buy anything else this way?
“The only thing I can think of is toilet paper during the pandemic. Buy as much as possible from as many stores as you can, because you can’t predict how long you might be stuck at home.”
He then quipped that “at least with toilet paper, you can never have too much, especially with [P&G brand] Charmin,” but too many ads lead to a terrible consumer experience, because far too many programs get loaded up with the same ad over and over and over again. There must be a better way.”
Pritchard cited research indicating the average consumer now sees as many as 10,000 ads a day, which is turning them off to advertising, and made the case that the network upfront buying process helps feed that by contributing to too much frequency.
“Isn’t there a way to buy and place ads synchronized to when people are actually watching, matching ad supply with viewing demand,” he asked, suggesting it is time to “eliminate the need for audience guarantees, which are inherently inefficient.”
Noting that the decades-long process is “ripe for constructive disruption” and pledged that P&G will work with the TV industry to “develop and test approaches that will eliminate the current system” to “make the experience better for consumers,” as well as media suppliers:
“It could create more predictable and stable media buys for broadcasters and publishers vs. the protracted transactions of the upfront dance,” he concluded.
This guys track record is for making big, bold, direction-changing pronouncements, then Procter & Gamble just keeps doing what it's been doing.