P&G spearheads family-TV awards

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When the Advertising Council convened for its annual public service dinner last week, it was to honor John Pepper, chairman-CEO of Procter & Gamble Co. But when Mr. Pepper took the podium, he had more than just an acceptance speech in mind. He wanted to present another set of awards.


The executive announced a plan for P&G to join with four leading advertising associations to present an annual award to marketers, networks, studios and agencies that help develop and broadcast family programming.

The move marks the second time this year that megamarketer P&G has used its clout to initiate industrywide change. This summer, P&G played host to interactive agencies and marketers at the FAST Summit, organized to brainstorm about the opportunities and problems of interactive marketing.

Mr. Pepper surprised attendees at the council's 45th annual public service award dinner with the family programming push. Although details are still developing, P&G has already recruited the Ad Council, American Association of Advertising Agencies, Association of National Advertisers and American Advertising Federation as co-sponsors.

Other marketers seem willing to join P&G. Last year's public service award winner, IBM Corp. Chairman-CEO Louis Gerstner Jr., was one of the first to catch up with Mr. Pepper after his speech. Big Blue's chief congratulated his colleague and told him IBM would endorse such an award.


P&G "wants more options," said Robert Wehling, global marketing, marketing research and government relations officer. He said years ago, the marketer had no trouble finding quality family programming to sponsor. Lately, he said, the search is more difficult in part because more adult programming is invading earlier time slots.

Mr. Pepper cited programs such as "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Home Improvement" and "Sabrina" as examples of family friendly shows.

Copyright November 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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