By Published on .

Most Popular
Procter & gamble co. uses nostalgia in its Crest Kids campaign to defend its troubled category leader Crest toothpaste against hard-charging the rival Colgate brand.

But the campaign doesn't exactly harken to the brand's advertising of the glory days in the 1950s.

In a campaign featuring moms passing their Crest brand loyalty down to the kids, the biggest national marketer is giving spots featuring white, African-American and Hispanic families close to equal weight on daytime TV.


The campaign, by D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York, with help from its Hispanic advertising unit Bromley Aguilar & Associates and P&G's African-American agency Burrell Communications Group, Chicago, is the latest example of how virtually all major P&G campaigns now include executions featuring and targeting African-Americans and Hispanics.

Current advertising on the air for such key P&G brands as Tide, Pantene, Bounty and Downy all feature minority actors, primarily in P&G's hallmark slice-of-life vignettes.

But even P&G acknowledges it has a long way to go to make its U.S. marketing truly multicultural, even as the company moves toward global brands and marketing approaches.

"Our brands, our company continues to recognize the importance of ethnic markets and the tremendous buying power of the African-American and Hispanic consumer," says a spokeswoman. "That's why you see ethnic diversity advertising in the TV and the little bit of radio that we do. It's incredibly important to us, which is why we are exploring opportunities to better market our brands to various ethnic markets."


Burrell Communications Group has been routinely brought in to produce TV and print executions for campaigns as part of integrated efforts overseen by brand AORs for P&G's most heavily advertised brands, such as Crest.

For Hispanic advertising, P&G has relied mostly on parts of its roster agencies, including DMB&B's Bromley unit; Leo Burnett USA's in-house Hispanic advertising unit and Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide's Conill Advertising division.

Despite its best efforts, P&G, like most major package-goods companies, is struggling with multicultural marketing, says Ken Harris, partner in the consultancy Cannondale Associates.

"They're probably doing as well as any company, but there's been a lack of satisfaction at how effective they've been," Mr. Harris says. "Even they would admit that they want to be better."


One of P&G's biggest ethnic marketing successes has been more by accident than design, Mr. Harris says. Sunny Delight, which was largely a Florida and Southern California brand when P&G acquired it in 1987, has always enjoyed a strong following in Hispanic communities, where it appeals to the culture's relatively strong sweet tooth.

"To much of the Hispanic community, Sunny Delight is orange juice," Mr. Harris says. He believes a big part of the impetus for P&G to launch a shelf-stable version of the refrigerated juice drink and develop a direct-store-delivery program was to better reach Hispanic consumers served by the roughly 5,000 bodegas with limited refrigerated space in metropolitan New York.

Reaching Hispanic consumers and bodegas may have factored in the decision, but P&G made the move largely to move Sunny Delight into the mass convenience store market, another spokeswoman said. The brand has, however, developed Spanish-language versions of TV spots for Sunny Delight.

P&G's multicultural efforts have been hamstrung in part by its refusal to reach beyond its roster agencies for help, says Burt Flickinger, consultant with Reach Marketing.

"The big piece P&G is also missing, which they'll hopefully get to in their global branding, is how to reach Asian consumers in their key markets," Mr. Flickinger says.


Growing global strength, however, may not help P&G as much as some competitors. While the company is growing faster overseas than in the U.S., its strongest international market is Europe. Regions and countries that send more immigrants to the U.S., such as Latin America and India, have been relatively weak for P&G and strong for rivals Colgate-Palmolive Co. and Unilever.

Colgate, which has a number of leading brands in Latin America, is attempting to capitalize in the U.S. by bringing up two household and laundry brands north earlier this year (AA, Sept. 27).


Much of P&G's multicultural marketing effort has been concentrated in sometimes intricately targeted promotions, which have met with mixed results, Mr. Flickinger says. A program to distribute coupons through inner-city churches was largely a bust, he says.

More recently, P&G has tried sampling through Operation Head Start centers and is stepping up efforts to reach ethnic consumers through stores where they shop.

Several chains have received the co-op Hispanic radio option in P&G's co-marketing program warmly, accounting for a 29.3% increase in P&G's radio spending to $23.4 million in 1996 from 1995, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

P&G also has worked closely with Texas supermarket chain HEB to reach Hispanic consumers and such New York City chains as C-Town and Pioneer to reach African-American consumers, Mr. Flickinger says.


As in some other programs, P&G has concentrated more on announcement or sampling pieces than coupons, an approach Mr. Flickinger says "may be confusing to consumers who are looking to buy down their baskets of goods."

But Mr. Flickinger says P&G's move to remove media and some other duties from brand managers will give them more time to develop micromarketing strategies that will help reach ethnic consumers.

"With the media burden and before the onset of the global brand and category teams," he says, "the brand managers just simply didn't have the time to drill

In this article: