Procter & Gamble (P&G) is to lay off 1,600 staff as part of a cost cutting exercise that will also include a re-evaluation of the company’s $10bn ad budget.

It comes as P&G chairman Robert McDonald revealed to analysts that the company had somewhat belatedly recognised the cost efficiency of digital marketing.

Under McDonald P&G’s ad spend increased by 24% over the two years up to October 2011 despite only seeing a 6% increase in sales.

According to Business Insider, McDonald told analysts that though the company had traditionally spent 9% to 11% of sales revenue on advertising: “Over time, we will see the increase in the cost of advertising moderate.”

He said that P&G was quickly moving more of its businesses into digital to take advantage of the different media channels.

In the digital space, with things like Facebook and Google and others, we find that the return on investment of the advertising, when properly designed, when the big idea is there, can be much more efficient.” 

McDonald cited the Old Spice adverts as an example of a campaign that achieved 1.8bn 'free' impressions online.

P&G’s move to digital is exactly what the company should be doing, particularly if it equates to savings - and a broader reach.

But the realisation comes quite late in the day for the world’s largest marketer, which up until now has chosen to plough a vast majority of its ad budgets into traditional ad channels.

David Moth

Published 3 February, 2012 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (1)


Jay Grand

Yes? Can we know what the impact on sales has been over time (Which P&G measures its success by). the issue with this ad, irrelevant of which channel it went through) is that it is highly enjoyable (Cf Engagement in Link tests) but that the persuasive score would be extremely low. Resulting in high click and brand awareness for sure, but how about sales impact? Which ultimately is what the tool called BRAND is for...

about 5 years ago

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