P&G Regains Top Slot in Shopper Marketing

Leapfrogs Unilever in Survey to Lead Ranking For First Time in Three Years

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P&G brands

Procter & Gamble Co. has returned to the top in The Hub magazine's annual ranking of shopper-marketing organizations for the first time since 2009.

P&G had held the top spot for the first two years of the survey, but fell behind others the past three. The survey, designed by shopper-marketing consultant Chris Hoyt and administered by University of Tennessee marketing professor Dan Flint, has shopper-marketing agencies rate brand marketers and brand marketers joining retailers in rating agencies. Results of the 2013 survey will be reported in the May/June edition of the magazine.

P&G was never far from the top (having slid to No. 3 last year) and is seen as "the pioneers in shopper marketing," said Hub founder Tim Manners. "I think there's a sense that perhaps P&G took their eye off the ball for a little while, but they returned with greater focus. And that may explain why they're back on top."

P&G has come under investor pressure the past year after seeing its U.S. sales stay relatively flat for years and losing market share to competitors. But its share momentum in the U.S. has improved of late. Though it still lost U.S. share in its fiscal second quarter, P&G gained or held share in categories representing 50% of its U.S. business in the quarter ended Dec. 31, up from 45% the quarter before that and 30% the quarter before that.

P&G's fall from the top in The Hub rankings in recent years was mirrored in another industry ranking of CPG marketers – the annual Kantar Retail PowerRanking in which retailers vote. In that survey, P&G has remained on top in recent years but with steadily declining ratings and leads on competitors. In the November edition of the Kantar rankings, P&G was rated among the top suppliers by 32% of retailers, but that was down 6 points from the year before.

Unilever, which has been steadily rising in the Kantar rankings in recent years and took the top spot in The Hub rankings last year, fell to No. 8 in the magazine's rankings this year.

Hub's rankings of shopper-marketing agencies also saw a leadership change for 2013, with CatapultRPM replacing Mars Advertising, which had led the agency rankings for the first five years of the survey. CatapultRPM benefited in the rankings from the merger last year of Catapult Marketing with RPM Connect, Mr. Manners said.

The rankings were based on 1,049 usable surveys after screening to eliminate duplicate, incomplete and unidentified ballots. Mr. Flint prevents ballot-box stuffing, for example, by capping the number of votes from one company for another, with the limit set at 20 this year. Respondents are required to identify themselves and verified via email.

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