P&G's Marc Pritchard: creativity is a uniquely human endeavour

Procter & Gamble chief brand officer Marc Pritchard has underlined the importance of craft and creativity to his brand-building efforts.

Speaking yesterday (20 June) at fhe standing-room only Cannes Lions event, "Wake up with The Economist", Pritchard said P&G worked with a mix of different agencies but the differentiating factor was the client.

"The client truly gets the work that they deserve so a client who knows their brand, finds an insight and challenges the agencies to come back is it.

"Clients are the ones who make the biggest difference," he said. Pritchard also made an appeal to start to thinking about the individuals who work at agencies rather than the agencies themselves.

"I’ve found, frankly, within the agency it’s good not to call them agencies. Who are the people in the agencies? Who are the people who are the creatives?

"When you start naming them individually you take out that monolithic view of agencies and that’s when you get greatness because at the end of the day creativity is a uniquely human endeavour," he argued.

Pritchard revealed that he had spent the previous day with creative leaders from the FMCG giant’s global agencies where the key topic of conversation was about elevating craft.

"Our creatives want to do craft, it’s incumbent upon us as marketers to push that and help enable that.

He also said that he wanted to work with agencies that "do the best to serve their clients as partners" and urged them to think outside of silos.

"The best partnerships are the ones that focus on the total business. Not just the creative, not just the PR, not just the in-store," he said.

"How do you solve business problems? It can only be done when you’re focused on doing fewer things better to build the brand.

On cutting back on the number of agencies it works with – something P&G has embarked on over the last few years – Pritchard said: "Our core partners have really stepped up and are really appreciative.

"They’ve accepted that they have to simplify and become more of a one-stop shop in many cases or even better sometimes we have multiple agencies from different groups that are actually working together as if they were a one stop shop. That’s a beautiful thing," he added.

What has hurt craft is doing too much stuff, he said. "Trying to build your brand on a new promotion or a new product initiative, those kind of things," added.

The senior marketing leader, who in high-profile interventions has railed against "crap" ads and the murky digital ad environment, insisted that "when you do less, you can do more, better".

Pritchard said that the industry is about 40-50% done on its mission to clean up the digital supply chain and predicted the process would be complete by the end of 2017.

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