The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Be Careful What You Wish For …
October 13, 2009, 6:11 am
Filed under: Comment

I was recently having a chat with a very talented friend of mine about how P&G ‘miss the point’ interms of branding and communication.

He said that despite all the claims coming out of the organisation, the reality was they still favoured over-researched, rational products with over-researched, rational communication.

Now of course it is easy to agree with him, however I also said that there was a counter point of view …

For all the talk adland does regarding the importance of new ideas, creativity and single message communication … the fact is P&G probably launch more new products per year than the entire advertising industry has managed to come up with in 50 years which you could argue, demonstrates they are braver and more confident about creativity than the entire advertising industry could ever dream of being.

Not only that, but in terms of how that organisation speaks/thinks/acts, they are more aligned [regardless of seniority and/or geography] than almost any other company I have ever come across … hell, even their ads follow this approach, with the majority of their brands focused on delivering one key and consistent message to the masses … a key and consistent message that is maintained for decades as opposed to revealing a new direction every 12 months like many agencies do interms of their ‘brand philosophy’.

So here’s the thing …

It is all very easy for adland to slag off the big and the boring, however when it can be argued the big & the boring are the living embodiment of what adland claims are the attributes of a great brand, then it’s either time to get a new argument or start practicing what we preach and showing the masses how it really should/could be done, because as it stands it’s little wonder companies rate P&G more highly than adland and if you’re anything like me, that opinion will stick in your throat.

12 Comments so far
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I’m first to comment? I feel so honored.

This is a very interesting post Robert because I know you’re not P&G’s biggest fan but your points are food for thought. I believe the real issue here isn’t about how P&G conduct their business but how the advertising industry conducts theirs.

Fortunately there are some who show how it can be done, but without the distribution network of the major FMCG’s, they are unlikely to get the respect they deserve from adland, though probably will from P&G etc if dealing with someone high enough, not one of their middle management pawns.

A sweetly mischievous post Robert and much more interesting than yesterdays. 🙂

Switching point, I read Jon Steel has joined GPY&R. Thoughts?

Comment by Bazza

Ah Bazza how are you – do iPhone contracts in Canada come under your remit yet?

As for this post, most people don’t change most things in their life most of the time so long-term consistency is smart. Apple behave similarly – if you look closely.

Comment by John

what the fuck is going on baz. its way past your fucking bedtime.
youve only written this to cause a shit and get in lees pants but theres some method in your madness despite all the little and old adkids getting their fucking nappies/depends in a twist because they know a well shot 30 seconder placed in high appointment viewing television shows and youtube seeding can solve everything including world peace and why victoria beckham is so fucking thin.

i hate p&g but they do more right than adland and the only reason so many of the fuckers stand around all smug is were good at the one thing theyre bad at. pity they miss the point that in the scheme of things what we do makes little fucking impact on their results because of their massive fucking distribution tentacles and the ads they end up soul destroying us with are made by the very fuckers who walk around looking smug.

almost a good post here rob, dont overdo yourself.

Comment by andy@cynic

just because you can does not mean you should (which might as well be true to my comment). after all, p&g are into fmcg’s. they have to be innovative. i sometimes think that it would be a good idea to slow the ‘fast’ down a bit, if possible. i guess it would also be a good idea to rethink what you should do as a company (great brand anyone?) and see if you could. and since impossible is nothing, except a division by zero…

before i lose myself in the drivel – what i want to say is that p&g and other companies might benefit from realising a different approach to product innovation (i just mention fusion here). few/many (???) in adland know more than enough about markets, people and communication to really benefit and support companies on that mission.

a thought provoking post rob. but i better stop it now and chill in my nothing box 🙂

Comment by peggy

You’re being deliberatly contentious but as Andrew declared, there is reason behind your rant just like there is in his comment.

I hope the people who read this don’t get lost in the focus of the post and appreciate the meaning behind it. I’m sure they will and to be fair to the advertising industry, they have been advocates of this view for decades, it’s just rather disappointing that when it comes to actually doing something with it, they are normally as quiet as church mice.

Your last paragraph is especially powerful Robert, great to see and even better to read.

Comment by George

I have nothing to add to your post or the comments except to say it is refreshing to read someone in advertising appreciating companies are not dumb beasts who cannot even go to the lavatory without an agencies assistance.

I admit I have some reservations about the P&G brand even though I respect them very highly, but this post is not really about them is it.

Well written and well said.

Comment by Lee Hill

Well I am very impressed that everyone has kept on topic [so far] though I’m more impressed that this post managed to draw out George and Lee from their respective isolation.

Of course I’m not a huge fan of P&G – I think there are many things they do that are bloody awful – but I find it pretty hypocritical when our industry takes such pleasure in mocking them when they ‘do’ more than we do and we actually end up making the ads that the industry find so bloody offensive.

And John you’re right about consistency … as well as the fact Apple do it … however the people who keep Bazza in the style he is very unaccustomed to, may be becoming ‘too consistent’, because where they used to innovate with meaning [to ensure continued relevance & growth] they now seem to have chosen the asthetic path, which is why I think they are becoming more like Microsoft than Microsoft.

But I digress … especially as I want Baz to send me some new gadgets. 🙂

Oh and for the record, I think Andy’s comment deserves special praise because not only has he managed to keep on topic, but he’s pointed out a couple of things that makes adland look even more sad and desperate … which is tragic because underneath all the ranting and raving, this is an industry we/I love and want to stay a part of.

Comment by Rob

I bet you don’t work on any P&G brands because you wouldn’t say anything positive about them if you did. On face value you have a point with what you’re saying, but dealing with them is enough to make you squeeze pantene in your eyes.

Comment by P&G victim

I kind of agree.

Good creativity is better than boring creativity, but boring creativity is better than none.

(and none is better than producing none whilst claiming to be creatively led…)

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Hi Mr Victim – nice to have you pop by.

Whilst I don’t work on P&G … I have … and I do know what you’re saying [one of our biggest frustrations/amazement was when we were paid by a P&Gesque company to NOT run an ad we’d done – despite it achieving the highest research ratings they’d ever seen – because it went against their ‘rules’. But then what did they expect when they hired an agency called cynic!!] however as some guys on here have already highlighted, this post isn’t really about P&G, it’s more about adlands ability to have an air of superiority when the companies who are actually practicing what is being preached, are the very organisations they tend to criticise.

But yes, I can imagine I’d be a big Pantene user if I was working on P&G [with their specific ways and attitudes] all day every day.

Expect Obama to give you the Nobel next year, ha!

Comment by Rob

see what happens when im not first to comment? no other bastard wants to comment either.

didnt realise they had such fucking decent taste.

Comment by andy@cynic

If P&G were really smart they’d be on top of shit in NY right now. But they ain’t 😉

Comment by Charles

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