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Thursday, February 12, 2009

We can't all be P&G. (and that's too bad)

headline: ketchup doesn't stand a chance.

By now nobody is surprised to see P&G around the creative circles, picking up Grand Prix awards and being courted by the most creative agencies.

But just 4 years ago, the creative reality of the marketer that spends the most money in the world in advertising was very different.

P&G barely had a presence in award shows, which was concerning considering that P&G has a roster of more than 30 global brands.
Agencies appreciated their sophisticated marketing process but creatives hated their lack of appreciation for "creative" ideas.

Just consider this numbers:
From 1994 to 2006 P&G won 23 awards at the Cannes advertising Festival.
But from 2006 to 2008, 21 awards!!!

what made this remarkable change possible?
  • Ask yourself the hard questions. How can the biggest spender in advertising in the world have so little recognition on shows that reward creativity?
  • Learn what you don't know. P&G is run by engineers. Smart, data people who believe in the principle that everything is measurable and everything can be learned. So, they asked the most prestigious creatives around the world to share their views on advertising creativity.
  • Change happens from the top down. Brand directors were invited to Cannes to experienced the award festival. They were infected and they became believers.
  • Provide the tools to achieve the goals. Creative seminars and discussions groups were organized with creative, media and promotion agencies. More people were sent to Cannes, agencies provided best in class creative as inspiration and as a measurable tool.
  • Encourage taking risks. In an organization where failure is not an option, embracing the unpredictability and subjectivity of creative ideas is still a work in progress. But P&G knows that this is a long distance race.
I was part of the changing process and I never imagined that in just three years, P&G would win a Grand Prix at Cannes. (note: the agencies are of course responsible for the ideas, but P&G has an amazing roster of agencies and these agencies are winning awards with other clients anyhow)

I think that this is a great example that once you embrace creativity, make it a part of your culture, encourage it and reward it, everything is possible.

Maybe P&G should create a seminar about creativity. Probably they already did it.