P&G, one of the largest advertisers in the world with over $7 billion ad spend in 2017*, made quite a splash at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2018.
It won a ton of awards, launched some much-needed initiatives and announced a structural reorganization.
P&G’s Tide ads have become somewhat legendary amassing huge compliments even during the Super Bowl earlier this year.
At Cannes, “It’s a Tide Ad” created by Saatchi & Saatchi New York and “The Talk” from BBDO New York shared the most accolades for P&G in the Film category. Both won the Film Grand Prix while the latter also won a Gold in the same category. The Tide campaign even won a Titanium Lion, which according to Cannes “celebrates game-changers. Work in this category breaks new ground in branded communications; it is provocative, boundary-busting, envy-inspiring and marks a new direction for the industry.”
There was some controversy about the ad in a public jury at the Andy Awards earlier this year. That centered on whether the ad – in which moms talk to kids about how to deal with various dimensions of racism – properly reflected fathers in African-American homes.
That issue didn’t come up in the global Cannes jury, says Luiz Sanches, Film Jury president and chief creative officer of Almap/BBDO, Brazil, and neither pick prompted controversy on the jury.
Editor’s note: As president, he doesn’t vote, so he didn’t have to recuse himself from the honor for his sibling agency, and he doesn’t work with P&G anyway, he noted.
“Even though it had some issues locally, I think “The Talk” is a great platform that can be used on a global scale,” he says.
Both picks were easy, and he says he didn’t feel pressure to award just one Grand Prix, because he likes the message sent by the pairing.
“When we saw the two, I thought it was the right message to set for the next year for the whole industry,” he says. “We are missing some humor. But we also need to have some responsibility. We have to engage people in a broader message.”
2. Initiatives launched
In 2016, The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and its Alliance for Family Entertainment set out to eliminate bias against women from advertising and media, launching #SeeHer in an effort backed by the White House and tracked by ongoing consumer surveys. The mission is to achieve a 20% rise in accurate portrayals of women and girls in advertising and media by 2020 — the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote.
At Cannes 2018, P&G announced its commitment toward and support of #SeeHer through a slew of initiatives.
“Only 32% of chief marketing officers, 33% of chief creative officers and a mere 10% of commercial directors are women. These issues persist despite evidence that gender-equal ads perform 10% higher in trust and 26% higher in sales growth,” said a statement by the company.
Here’s what that includes:
- P&G is taking the Free the Bid, which means that as a brand, you ask your ad agencies & content producers for one bid from a woman on every commercial you produce; as an agency, you’re pledging to have a woman director’s option considered, to the best of your ability, when triple-bidding a production for a client; as a production company, you’re pledging to support women directors and consider signing, mentoring and training more women AND to try and help unsigned women to bid on jobs if they’re approached by ad agencies.
- Teaming up with Queen Latifah and Katie Couric, who are both active in supporting female directors in television and movies through their media and entertainment companies. P&G will sponsor a new video project that Couric is leading.
- It will partner and co-host the first #SheIsEqual Summit on September 28, in New York during UN General Assembly Week, along with Global Citizen
Furthermore, “The world’s biggest advertiser wants women directors for at least half of its product commercials by 2023, up from about one in 10 today. It’s a direct challenge to the male-dominated agency world, from a client that spent more than $7 billion on advertising last year,” reports Bloomberg.
3. Structural reorganization
On the third day of the festival, it announced some major structural changes.
P&G bumped up Craig Buchholz to the new role of chief communications officer as part of a reorganization that also combines brand and corporate communications duties and elevates other executives to vice president.
Buchholz will still report to chief brand officer Marc Pritchard in the new role – one that hasn’t existed since Christopher Hassall left the company in 2012. Buchholz is the rare P&Ger brought in at the vice president level from the outside. His move up is a sign that outsiders can survive and thrive at a time when the company is under pressure from new board member Nelson Peltz to do more outside hiring. Buchholz will also oversee global healthcare communications directly.
The changes also happen to come after the communications group fought what was an ultimately unsuccessful proxy battle to keep Peltz off the board.
Working under Buchholz will be Kelly Vanasse, vice-president of communications for global beauty, grooming and scientific communications. She will also oversee influencer communications and marketing company-wide.
Vanasse had previously been vice-president of communications for P&G business units as Buchholz, hired in 2014, led corporate communications.
P&G veteran Damon Jones will assume Buchholz’s old duties as vice-president of communications – a move up from director. He will also lead communications for global family care and P&G Ventures.
Nadia Viva also moves up from director to vice-president of communications, overseeing global baby, feminine, fabric and home care.
The changes are not expected to affect P&G in the region.
*Sourced from Statista