P&G MEDIA MOVE WILL ALTER U.S. TV LANDSCAPE

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With its record $1.2 billion TV media consolidation last week, Procter & Gamble Co., the world's biggest advertiser, wants to obliterate the current constraints of planning and buying practices.

If successful, the P&G model to be implemented beginning with the 1998-99 broadcast year by MacManus Group's TeleVest -- which won the consolidated account -- will serve as a blueprint for other leading advertisers and media operations.

Until now, the details of what P&G was up to have been a closely held secret, known only to the mega-marketer and the agencies invited to the pitch. P&G spelled out its goals to those agencies in a confidential memo, a copy of which was obtained by Advertising Age.

ENDING 'ARTIFICIAL BARRIERS'

"We want to deliver our brands' media strategies substantially more effectively and efficiently by eliminating artificial barriers, and in the case of TV the barriers are dayparts," stated the letter, signed by P&G VP-Media and Programming Daryl Simm.

In eliminating planning and buying specifically tied to day-parts, P&G wants to "create tactical plans," the letter said, adding that "a new kind of planning/scheduling competency will be required to evaluate 'real time' buying/cost information to achieve maximum results for each brand."

Heretofore, New York-based TeleVest, which has been P&G's TV buyer for national broadcast and syndication, has bought time, as cheaply as it could, for different brands in various dayparts, as ordered by P&G's brand agency planners.

Under the new system, the mandate is to "no longer [be] constrained to specific spending by daypart; [rather be] now focused on making tactical choices that deliver strategies most efficiently."

USING OPTIMIZERS

P&G said that in essence, the vision is the same as in its earlier print consolidation, but that in implementing the TV version the winning agency would be expected to develop and/or employ "systems that have the capacity to use Nielsen respondent level data to maximize target audience reach."

Such systems are called optimizers. The idea is to use more specific Nielsen data on viewers to make more efficient buys.

"Buyers will not only be responsible for negotiating the lowest possible rates but also for working in concert with the planning team to find the optimal buying solutions," the letter said.

One of the reasons spot, or local TV buying, was included in the review was so it could be used as a "*'national spot' alternative to network/syndication/cable and to address brands' geographic needs," according to the letter.

While the tactical planning issue was the most crucial aspect of the review, those familiar with the process said TeleVest's initial presentation in that area was, in the words of an executive at one rival agency, "far from a slam-dunk." The presentation of runner-up Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, was said to be outstanding. But TeleVest, which already handled the lion's share of P&G's TV spending, played to that strength.

STRESSING EXPERIENCE

"One of the factors they emphasized was that they already do the vast majority of P&G's buying, do it damn well, and did P&G really want to move that much money to a new entity?" said one media executive.

TeleVest also teamed with Wells BDDP, New York, which had handled P&G's cable and sports TV buying.

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