×

Procter & Gamble’s Marketing Chief Calls for Advertisers to Demand Higher Quality From Media

Procter & Gamble backs billion-dollar products like Crest, Tide and Pampers. Now it wants another one: safer media.

Marc Pritchard, the consumer-products giant’s chief brand officer and one of Madison Avenue’s most prominent figures, on Thursday urged advertisers to demand better quality of content and audience measurement from media outlets. His remarks represent,the latest call from a big-spending marketer for the media industry to enforce higher standards at a time when new digital venues have given rise to offensive videos, inaccurate measures of audience and less-than-transparent standards around the use of influencers, bots, and social-media accounts.

“Digital media continues to grow exponentially, and with it, a dark side persists, and in some cases, has gotten worse,” Pritchard said in remarks delivered at a conference held by the Association of National Advertisers, an influential trade group among advertisers, that included more than 650 attendees. “Waste continues to exist from lack of transparency and fraud. Seven out of 10 consumers say ads are annoying, and ad blocking is accelerating. Privacy breaches and consumer data misuse keeps occurring. Unacceptable content continues to be available and is still being viewed alongside our brands.”

Pritchard isn’t the first marketing executive to weigh in on the troubles introduced by the migration of consumers to streaming video and social media. Unilever, a P&G consumer-products rival that markets Axe grooming products and Hellman’s mayonnaise, last June called for an authenticity check of sorts when dealing with social-media personalities, bloggers, vloggers and the like. The company has also called out social-media outlets that allow offensive remarks that spur division.

But his concerns come as more media outlets and advertisers express open concern about the problems of using digital media. Few universal standards exist when it comes to quality of content or how to measure the audience that sees it. The rise of mobile devices and streaming video has given rise to a dizzying number of on-demand opportunities and measurement companies like Nielsen and Comscore, while moving forward with new products that measure digital viewing, have not gained critical mass when it comes to mapping out new consumer behaviors. And it has created an easier way for people who might never have access to producing a show on a traditional media venue like CBS or HBO to produce video content that isn’t as centered on rules of decorum or civility.

Even big-media chieftains are starting to express concern. In a speech delivered Wednesday, Disney CEO Bob Iger called social media “the most powerful marketing tool an extremist could ever hope for because by design social media reflects a narrow world view filtering out anything that challenges our beliefs while constantly validating our convictions and amplifying our deepest fears.”

Among the standards Pritchard called for are buying commercial inventory from places where the content quality is known, controlled, and consistent with a company’s value and working with media outlets that handle editorial comments “in a way that creates a balanced and constructive discourse.”

He suggested that advertisers push for a specific standard of measurement that will take into account viewing across multiple media platforms, such as a digital “tag” that can be placed on all ads, for all formats across digital and TV, and can be used to control ad frequency.

In a move that could rework existing relationships between big marketers and the ad agencies that serve them, Pritchard suggested advertisers take more control in a world that has grown more chaotic. He advised marketers to create in-house teams to handle the purchasing of ad inventory and deciding where commercials ought to run, as well as gather more consumer data independently from third parties.

Pritchard made his remarks just as many of the biggest media companies in the United States have begun to solicit ad dollars in the industry’s annual “upfront” sales season, when TV networks try to sell the bulk of their ad inventory for the coming programming cycle.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

  • TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley' Final

    TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley's' Final Season Sets October Premiere Date

    In today’s roundup, “Silicon Valley” returns to HBO on Oct. 27 and Quibi greenlights a new cooking competition show “Dismantled.” DATES The fifth season of Netflix‘s “Peaky Blinders” will premiere on the streamer Oct. 4. The newest season will continue to follow one gangster family in the lawless streets of Birmingham, UK during the midst [...]

  • Peter Fonda Dead: 'Easy Rider' Star

    Peter Fonda, Star of 'Easy Rider,' Dies at 79

    Two-time Oscar nominee Peter Fonda, who became a counterculture icon when he co-wrote, produced and starred in seminal 1969 road movie “Easy Rider,” then showed Hollywood he could act about three decades later in “Ulee’s Gold,” died on Friday from lung cancer at his home in Los Angeles. He was 79. His sister Jane Fonda [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content