Olympian marketing ramps up

Procter & Gamble aims to dominate airwaves during London games

Associated PressJuly 12, 2012 

— If a gold medal could be awarded for Olympic marketing, Procter & Gamble would surely be striving for it.

With the opening ceremony of the Olympics two weeks away, the world’s largest consumer products maker on Wednesday unveiled an ad that shows child athletes arriving in London and getting ready to compete.

In the “Kids” commercial, a proud mom watches her son on the diving board. “To their moms, they’ll always be kids,” an announcer says in the spot, which ends with the company’s tagline: “P&G, proud sponsor of moms.”

The 2008 Olympics in Beijing was the most-watched event in U.S. television history: An average of 27.7 million people saw the telecast over 17 nights on NBC and its cable networks. Companies spent $977 million in advertising during the 2008 games, according to Kantar Media.

P&G, which was not a sponsor in Beijing, is trying to capitalize on those eyeballs this time around.

The company, which declined to disclose its spending on marketing, has a corporate campaign in addition to marketing initiatives with 34 separate brands ranging from Pampers to Duracell. Additionally, P&G is sponsoring more than 150 global athletes.

“It’s the largest multibrand program we’ve ever done,” said Marc Pritchard, global marketing and brand building officer at P&G.

P&G expects the campaign to drive $500 million in sales.

Like many consumer product companies, P&G has been expanding internationally as growth in the U.S. and other mature markets slows. But weakness in Europe and uncertainty about the overall global economy, coupled with high costs for commodities such as fuel and packaging, has led to lackluster results.

In its most recent quarter, P&G said net income fell 16 percent while its overall market share slipped 0.2 points, including a decline of 0.6 points in North America.

Now P&G is focusing on its most profitable markets, which include the U.S., Mexico, Germany and Brazil.

Cincinnati-based P&G worked with retailers in those markets to create multibrand displays in stores, supported by TV and print advertising. It also plans to air the P&G corporate TV spots, including “Kids,” in these countries.

“We designed the program to be global, to ensure that we would be successful in top markets,” Pritchard said.

In the U.S., P&G’s corporate campaign kicked off in April with its first “Thank You, Mom” TV spot. It also has a dedicated “Thank You, Mom” Facebook page and app that allows people to send “Thank you” messages to their mothers.

Many of the company’s separate brands also have campaigns. For example, Pampers diaper brand rolled out an ad in April showing babies climbing a chair as if it were an Olympic sport. It is also selling limited edition U.S.A. diapers and baby wipes in the U.S.

P&G’s Pantene hair products brand has named 11 Olympic athletes its “beauty ambassadors,” appearing in ads. In one, Natalie Coughlin, a U.S. swimmer, says she trusts Pantene to “keep my hair beautiful.”

And a campaign for Duracell batteries, tagged “Rely on Copper to go for the gold,” features U.S. taekwondo Olympians Diana and Mark Lopez.

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