P&G Leans on Digital in Corporate-Image Push

When Procter & Gamble CMO Mark Pritchard said that the CPG brand would focus less on selling products and more on building one-to-one relationships with consumers, he wasn’t kidding. P&G has rolled out its biggest campaign in its 175-year history that follows this mantra. The campaign places a huge emphasis on digital channels, per Pritchard.

The new corporate-image campaign, “Thank You Mom,” is part of P&G’s involvement with this year’s Olympic games. The message centers on the competitors in this year’s games and the journey they went through all throughout their childhood to get to where they are. And as they navigated this tough journey, there was always that one person on the sidelines cheering for them: their moms. At the epicenter of the effort is a short film called “Best Job,” which celebrates the role that moms play in raising Olympic athletes. The campaign runs through display advertising, in social media, mobile, TV and print.

The effort is a departure in more ways than one. P&G rarely runs a consumer ad campaign for its corporate brand, typically staying in the background to highlight its brands like Tide and Pampers. The heavy digital component is noteworthy considering the shift Pritchard signaled — and perhaps a message to brand managers that they need to change their approach.

At the Signal P&G event in Cincinnati in March, Pritchard said, “Today’s heroes are everyday people whose actions inspire others to follow and whose stories generate the most interest, and whose advocacy we trust. People are participating. They’re involved in conversations about our brands and companies like never before. They’re creating content through conversations and creative expressions of how they think and feel about topics. To address these forces, our vision is to build our brands through lifelong, one-to-one relationships in real-time with every person in the world.”

Unlike past P&G efforts, the “Thank You Mom” campaign isn’t pushing products. There are no coupons or offers for Dove deodorant. It is all about sparking conversation with consumers and building that one-to-one relationship that Pritchard preached at the event in March. As promised, P&G is using mobile in this effort to cultivate loyalists. The “Thank You Mom” app was launched as a platform for people to thank their own moms by uploading personalized content in the form of a video, still image with caption or text-based message. Users will then be able to encourage friends and family to do the same, spreading the word to thank and celebrate moms.

Back at the Signal P&G event in March, Pritchard talked about mobile being a force in the marketing industry that changes everything. Mobile gives people 24/7, real-time connections to everyone, including brands. He explained how, he believes, brands can use mobile to transform public opinion on just about anything.

The company has posted the TV commercial on its page, which has already been viewed almost 1.5 million times since the campaign launch April 17. P&G’s Twitter account is also decorated with a picture of a mother and her young child. The company shared its campaign video via Twitter.

P&G hasn’t been very social until this campaign. In fact, the majority of P&G brands have more Facebook followers than the parent company does. But like Pritchard said, in order to achieve this vision of building a community and one-to-one relationships with all of its members, P&G needs to shift the way it operates. He was very adamant on shifting focus from products to people and that is exactly what the company has done with this campaign.

“We want P&G to be the first to create this trusted, indispensable relationship because it will create greater loyalty, more purchases across categories, and more sales at lower costs,” Pritchard said.

See below the short film “Best Job,” which celebrates the role that moms play in raising Olympic athletes.


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