While change is the only constant and is much needed to bring about societal impact, the advertising and marketing industry has always debated about creating ads with such messages. For P&G, when brand campaigns are inspired by people the brand serves and are able to communicate the product’s performance in a novel way, it ends up contributing to significant sales growth for the brand and the market in which it competes. “As we continue to face disruptions in the world around us, it will be more important than ever to double down on using creativity for growth. Further, creativity can extend to good too. This is possible because the kind of growth we are pursuing is market growth which in turn creates value and that leads to good,” Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer, P&G, said at the 68th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, 2022.
Highlighting the three core beliefs that guide P&G’s creativity, Pritchard stated that creativity must feel personal, communicate performance and build trusted partnerships. “When it feels personal, when it communicates performance and when it builds trusted partnerships, creativity thrives to fuel growth and good,” he added.
While talking about diversity and inclusion, Pritchard shared how their grooming brand for women Gillette Venus broke stereotypes of showing white women with perfect bikini body and smooth legs and replacing them with women of different ethnicity and and body types shaving not just legs but underarms, head, tummies and pubic area in their My Skin, My Way ads. “This work communicates in an interesting way and has dramatically accelerated growth for this brand,” he stated, adding that the ad exemplified the power of equality and inclusion behind the camera that Venus builds into its operations every day. According to him, 80% of the brand’s creative work is directed by women.
Another example of using creativity for diversity and inclusion as well as breaking stereotypes was the Old Spice’s Men have skin too ad series. “This work jumpstarted growth among black men and the entire brand. The ad was a shift from our normal ways of advertising the brand that came off as sophomore fraternity humour for some people. This ad represented black men as sophisticated and smooth rather than loud and brash,” Pritchard said. While the ad resulted in the growth of the brand’s market share, it also made a significant move towards doing good.
The company has rolled out Widen the Screen- a content creation, talent development and partnership platform that enables equal representation and inclusion of diverse creators across the advertising film and media ecosystem. “We started with black creators and are widening to all underrepresented creators with a call to action to widen the screen so we can widen our view,” Pritchard shared. Having already partnered with Queen Collective, Tribeca STudios, Group Black among others, the platform claims to have provided opportunities to more than 20 directors and 300 black creators. Till date the platform has aired 12 films on broadcast television with another 12 coming next year all supported by brand advertising and have licensed these productions for free to black owned media companies to create additional programming that increases ad inventory so brands can buy advertising designed to expand black owned media ecosystem. Moreover, Widen the Screen has also taken a step towards gender equality as nearly 45% of P&G brands’ advertising around the world was directed by women filmmakers last quarter as opposed to only 11% when they had rolled out the platform in 2018.