The newest ad from Procter & Gamble doesn’t feature any of its famous products, like Tide, Pampers or Crest. The only thing the company is really trying to sell is a good feeling at the end of a bad year.
A new commercial from the consumer-products giant now available online and set to debut Saturday during broadcast of the Global Citizen Prize on NBC in the U.S. and CTV in Canada, features close-up shots of babies and the emotions they display.
“2020 was an unimaginable year,” says Marc Pritchard, P&G’s chief brand officer, in an interview (above, pictured). “More than ever, businesses have really stepped up and consumers that we serve are expecting more of it.”
The commercial, crafted by Dentsu’s McgarryBowen, is designed to offer “a little injection of positive energy in the world,” says Pritchard, but it also launches a new round of Procter’s efforts to help people during a tough time. U.S. consumers U.S. consumers can join a new rewards program called “P&G Good Everyday,” that spurs the company to make donations to causes as they earn points that can be redeemed for awards. Meanwhile, P&G brands like Pampers, Always and Pantene will continue programs that have them donating health, hygiene and cleaning products to communities that need them.
The company is committing to “2,021 acts of good” in the new year that will have its brands also donating personal protective equipment and financial support. Procter has in the recent past championed new moves aimed to raise awareness of issues including social inequity, climate change and sustainability.
P&G’s maneuver takes place as the industry has been wondering what kind of tone to strike with consumers as the world tries to move forward from the coronavirus pandemic. Taking too optimistic of a stance may mean leaving behind millions of people who are out of work or suffering during a roiled era. Offering too negative of a view may only reinforce some of the doubts consumers are having about the economy and the world.
The company is one of the world’s most scrutinized advertisers and its decisions are followed closely by marketing executives from a range of disciplines. Already, some advertisers are wringing their hands about the creative stance to adopt in February’s broadcast of Super Bowl LV on CBS.
“The one thing we can agree upon is that the world needs more good,” says Pritchard. “This whole preponderance of activity that happened in 2020, I think, really causes businesses and brands to step up , caused us to think that a lot more needed to get done.”
P&G needs to strike the right chord. While some marketers from the travel and entertainment sectors have scaled back ad spend in 2020, Procter has continued to advertise. According to Nielsen, Procter & Gamble spent $164.4 million on advertising in October. There’s reason for the outlay. In its most recent fiscal quarter, which ended in September, P&G said sales increased 9% to $19.3 billion.