Road to Brandweek: Marc Pritchard Says P&G Wants to Be ‘Useful’ in This Moment

Procter & Gamble's chief brand officer opens up about marketing in today's climate

Marc Pritchard
Marc Pritchard will take the virtual stage at Brandweek Masters Live. Courtesy of P&G
Headshot of Diana Pearl

Considering the events of 2020, it’s no surprise that hygiene, health and cleanliness are top of mind for consumers. And chances are, many Americans are cleaning their homes and bodies with products from a Procter & Gamble brand. The Cincinnati-based conglomerate owns a slew of the world’s most recognizable CPG brands, such as Tide, Bounty and Dawn. And during the year’s second quarter, the company saw a 4% rise in sales thanks to the increased demand for cleaning products amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Marc Pritchard, P&G’s chief brand officer, is at the helm of the company’s marketing efforts, which include everything from fun, talked-about Super Bowl spots to ads centered around racial justice. He will take the virtual stage at Adweek’s Brandweek Masters Live event, which will be held from Sept. 14 to 17 this year.

Ahead of the event, Adweek sat down—virtually, of course—with Pritchard to discuss this moment in marketing.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

With campaigns like ‘The Talk’ and ‘The Look,’ P&G has put racial justice at the forefront of its marketing for a few years now. What went into that?
We decided we were going to use our voice and advertising as a force for good and do it in a way that also delivers a force for growth. We started with first and foremost making sure that all of our advertising accurately and respectfully portrays every individual, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, religion, spirituality, age and socioeconomic status.

Because when you portray people accurately, what that does is that creates those images in the minds of ‘These are the human beings.’ And it creates acceptance and eliminates bias, but we decided we had to go further than that, because what we needed to do is shine the light on specific issues and take a stand.

This has been a year unlike any other. What do you think that the next year, the next five years, holds for marketers and for P&G?
For P&G, cleaning, health and hygiene is really important. People are going to spend a lot more time in their home. We’ll be thinking and have already been thinking about how to make sure that no matter what we do with our brands, we’re useful. We help them understand how to use these products; that’s down to the basic infomercials that we’ve been doing.

We did a lot of pivots during Covid-19 to just focus on how to shave to get a better mask fit, how to cut your own hair, how to help first responders. That’s foundational.

What about for marketers and the industry at large?
I see huge transformation happening in brand building. It’s already accelerated about five years in this last few months because of what’s happening with the pandemic. That virtual world is going to create some real transformation in every aspect of brand building, media and advertising.

@dianapearl_ Diana is the deputy brands editor at Adweek and managing editor of Brandweek.