Speaking at the American Association of Advertising Agencies meeting last May, Procter & Gamble Co.'s chairman-chief executive challenged marketers and agencies to confront the changing media landscape or face a future with no place for advertising.
The industry has clearly started that exploration. Would it have done so even if the chief of the nation's largest advertiser hadn't issued his challenge? Probably yes. But Mr. Artzt's call to action added a big measure of credibility and a considerable nudge.
"It's not as if interactive media was born at the Four A's meeting," said Gary Moss, VP-global advertising, Campbell Soup Co. "There were many efforts under way well before he gave that speech, but what he did, using the clout of P&G, was put a spotlight on the entire area.
"Now, it's the topic du jour, and the proliferation of [marketing and advertising] opportunities in all of the emerging technologies and media is simply amazing."
Agreed Kathleen Brookbanks, senior partner-executive media director at Ogilvy & Mather, Chicago, "Most agencies were already addressing the issue of interactive media, whether it was through task forces or informal groups. The people who were interested in new media were working in this area, and what the speech did was inspire agencies to become more competitive in this area, naming formal groups and publicizing their efforts."
"What the speech did was speed up and further stimulate activity in new media," added Rishad Tobaccowala, VP-account director of the Interactive Marketing Group at Leo Burnett Co., a P&G agency. "Any time a major client comes in and says this is an area that we should be in, that certainly steps up the commitment to that area."
P&G isn't the only package-goods marketer interested in new media. Pillsbury Co. began working with agencies to understand its implications nearly four years ago.
"What we wanted to know then was how we were going to sell our products using these new technologies," said John Chomeau, Pillsbury advertising manager. "What we still want to know is what are the product reasons to be there [on a particular new media]. We're not going to say to our agencies, here's $10 million, go out there and see what happens."
But it was just in the last year that Pillsbury established an integrated brand communications group to coordinate new-media activities. This group is charged with working with agencies Burnett; Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco; and Campbell-Mithun-Esty, Minneapolis, to make sure opportunities for Pillsbury brands are identified.
The group this