Procter & Gamble is known for its rigorous and sophisticated research for every aspect of its marketing efforts. That includes extensive testing of ad creative. Now radio’s largest parent company advertiser is using artificial intelligence to reshape how it evaluates advertising.
Speaking at its annual Signal digital conference last week at P&G’s Cincinnati headquarters, Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard said the consumer-packaged goods giant’s “AI Studio” tool has abbreviated its copy-testing process. What used to take 30 days and cost $30,000 per ad tested is now a one-day, $1,000 process. “It can be applied to literally any kind of communication, and it’s spreading around the world,” Pritchard said, as reported by Ad Age.
P&G aired 3.55 million spots on U.S. broadcast radio from January through June of this year, according to Media Monitors, after commandeering the top parent company berth in full-year 2021 with a whopping 9.10 million spot occurrences. Those ads for cleaning products brand Swiffer, dish detergents Dawn and Cascade, cold remedy Vicks, Bounty paper towels and numerous other everyday household items are carefully vetted before the company invests millions of dollars placing them.
Not only is the world’s largest advertiser using AI to test ad creative, it’s also ramping up its use of programmatic ad buying. “Programmatic media is now our No. 1 spend pool and growing at a rapid rate,” Pritchard said.
P&G’s migration of ad dollars into digital appears to be coming at the expense of TV. At the conference, Pritchard spoke about a marketing campaign for Pampers that begins with a “Due Date Calendar” that targets people early on during pregnancy-related online searches and takes them to a Pampers Rewards app. Using what is mainly a digital and relationship marketing plan, Ad Age reports that Pampers is able to reach 95% of target parent households versus the 60% reach it would get with its TV campaigns. That has saved the company $25 million annually, according to Pritchard.
To help make up for some of the reach it can no longer get on linear TV, P&G has ramped up its radio spend, starting in 2017. Because it makes products most people use every day, like toothpaste, toilet paper and dish detergent, P&G needs to reach as many Americans each week as possible. It uses a multimedia mix that includes broad reach media to do that. A Nielsen Media Impact analysis from May 2021 examined the reach lift that radio produces for 15 different P&G brands. Conducted by Cumulus Media’s Audio Active Group, it showed 65% of persons 18+ were reached by the TV portion of P&G’s May 2021 campaign for its Tide laundry soap brand. When the AM/FM radio portion of the buy was included, the adult 18+ reach grew to 77%, an 18% increase. The story was similar for all the brands analyzed.