Procter & Gamble is Ad Age Marketer of the Year


Only two years ago, things looked dire for Procter & Gamble Co. The company had been losing market share since the Great Recession began in 2007. Conventional competitors and direct-to-consumer startups gnawed away at its customer base. Activist investor Nelson Peltz had just won a board seat after a nasty proxy fight. Even after shedding 100 brands and a fifth of its sales, P&G faced calls from some analysts for a bigger breakup.

Now, that’s almost a distant memory. P&G has gained share in most businesses this year, posting 7 percent organic sales growth the past two quarters. That’s a rarity for any big company, particularly one implementing a major restructuring. 

Squeezing out more than $1 billion in annual agency, production fees and media waste since 2016 has knocked P&G from its longtime perch as the world’s biggest advertiser. Even so, it’s put out notable creative in the past year that includes original productions from James Corden and John Legend for SK-II and Pampers, while embracing risks and taking social media heat for ads from Gillette and My Black Is Beautiful that take controversial stances on gender and race relations. P&G has also enlisted a broad array of outside creators, including National Geographic and Arianna Huffington’s Thrive, for everything from documentaries to “micro-habits” consumers can think about while brushing their teeth.

Relying less on conventional surveys, the company has adopted the methods of d-to-c startups by rolling out dozens of new brands and ideas direct to consumers and pivoting based on results. As it takes more risks, P&G’s growth has pushed its stock price up more than 30 percent this year and 65 percent from recent lows in May 2018…[Read More]



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