Several clients and colleagues have commented to me about Procter & Gamble venturing into the world of corporate advertising for the first time in the UK, with its Mother’s day campaign “Proud sponsor of Mums”. This is a real departure for my former employers, as the brands were always very much the heroes in my day and the company took incredible pains to stay in the background and keep a low profile. This was not so universally – P&G brand ads have long carried corporate endorsement in Asia as the culture there demanded it.
So why the change of heart here in the UK and does it make sense? P&G are sponsoring the Olympics (sponsorship – another no-no in my day!) and as such need to take a corporate approach rather than a series of linkups with individual brands. However it seems there are other more compelling reasons.
P&G ran a precursor of the campaign (Proud sponsor of Moms) at the Vancouver Olympics and apparently it generated an additional $100M in revenue and achieved a 30% improvement in brand recall. Their research indicates that loyal users of one brand are not always aware of the other brands in the company stable – and that trust and loyalty builds and transfers when people are made aware.
There are an average of 5.7 P&G products in UK homes – leaving plenty of scope to cross sell other ones. The highest reach of any of the brands is Fairy Liquid (one of the brands I was lucky enough to manage back in the day!) and making all those Fairy users aware that the same company also makes Pantene, Pampers, Max Factor, Ariel, Olay and many others, could mean big gains for the company. And P&G is not alone – both Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser have been running corporate ads for a while.
The other aspect of all this is that the first ad in the campaign – see below – is cheap as chips – it’s a few photos (apparently of the families of P&G employees), a voiceover at the end and some library music – so big savings on production costs – always a consideration!
One thing about P&G – it may have a lot of sacred cows – but it isn’t afraid to slaughter them!