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Lessons from the Grandfather

P & G have generally been getting things right of late. At a very recent analyst meeting in Cincinnati, CFO Clayton Daley revealed that their recent market share has increased by 3.5 points and brand equity on flagship brands like Tide and Pampers has risen to record levels.

And this is not because they have been (god forbid) spend-happy or inefficient in any way with their media or ad budgets. Global ad spend as a share of sales has been cut for the past two years from 10.7% in 2004 to under 10% in 2006 .

But alongside this there are a couple of very interesting (and related facts). Firstly, that television is now not the default lead in the marketing mix. A couple of examples given by Jim Stengel, Global Marketing Officer, included a recent upgrade campaign for feminine care brand Always that relied entirely on "targeted print media" (largely magazines), whilst another campaign for antacid remedy Prilosec "has done the same with interactive approaches". According to Ad Age, P & G have also upped their US spend in magazine media to over 20% of total media spend, a move echoed in the UK.

Now I admit to having a vested interest here, working as I do for a large consumer magazine publisher. But here’s an interesting thing. A traditional planning approach for large budget campaigns would see many advertisers using TV as the lead medium, and spending enough in that lead medium until it stops working before dividing the rest up between supporting media which have supporting roles. As a result, the supporting media are often allocated such comparatively insignificant spends that it is often difficult to measure their effectiveness.

I’m not out to knock TV here, but if the worlds biggest advertiser (one which is highly ROI focused and renowned for the sophistication of its marketing effectiveness and media mix models) is positioning media other than TV as the lead on significant campaigns, perhaps other advertisers should take note.

There’s a great article with a similar view by Erwin Ephron here

If you’re interested, there’s also more on magazines part in this here

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