Procter & Gamble’s global brand building officer Marc Pritchard has proclaimed digital marketing to be “dead.”
Speaking at Dmexco, the chief marketer from the world’s largest advertiser, asked, “Try and resist thinking about digital in terms of the tools, the platforms, the QR Codes and all of the technology coming next. We [Procter & Gamble] try and see it for what it is, which is a tool for engaging people with fresh, creative campaigns … the era of digital marketing is over. It’s almost dead. It’s now just brand building. It’s what we do.”
He made this statement after running a video advertisement for a Braun electric shaver that initially ran online only, ignoring all traditional marketing, driving sales before running through traditional media.
“It wasn’t the digital component. It was the campaign,” he declared, explaining that it proved to the company what could be achieved in the digital world.
“This is a mindset that we are trying to infuse in our company and it’s creating a tremendous shift [within P&G.] It’s freeing up our minds on building creative ideas that come to life through the mediums that we engage with every single day — search, social, mobile, PR, and yes, even TV.”
He continued to describe the strategy as ‘Digital Back,’ explaining: “start in the digital world and build your way back to the rest of the marketing mix. Our best agencies do that right now…it’s an approach that is building our brand equities, our sales and our profits.”
He said that digital technology was a “means to reach people” through brands and capture consumer imaginations in a way that had been impossible before.
“But we can only do that if we have this one component that has been a constant since the beginning of brand building — an idea. Fresh creative ideas that are powered by insights, that are powered by the way people think and feel and are inspired by creativity, always have and always will create great campaigns. Digital tools just give us a new way to spread those ideas in ways that we’ve never imagined before … great ideas matter more now than they ever have before, because with these digital tools at our disposal we have the chance to be successful widely beyond whatever we had imagined.”
Pritchard continued to explore some of his company’s brands and how they had utilised new technology, powered by ideas to be a global success, including Old Spice, Vella Koleston and Oral B work.
Discussing the ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” Old Spice online campaign led to Pritchard offering the insight that “brand insight shouldn’t be something you change with every new campaign.”
He continued: “You should find that insight and invest in it to the best if your brand’s ability,” before running several stages of the campaign to explore its evolution.
Pritchard concluded the talk by imploring the room to “build brands with campaigns that matter, make people think and feel and laugh. We have the chance to do all of those things now in a way that is so much more exciting than we did before.
So let’s celebrate the end, the death of digital marketing and let’s focus on celebrating the great idea of these brands and let’s leverage the platforms and technologies that allow us to engage with people like we never have before. I’m certain that our brand buiding teams, our agencies and the people who see our stuff all around the world will thank us for it.”
Pritchard’s views on the importance of the need for creativity echoed those of Keith Weed, CMO for Unilever earlier in the day, who spoke about the need to use mobile, social and data to help develop more engaging campaigns.
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