AGENCIES INCLUDE: Aegis Group's Carat Americas, N.Y. Publicis's Bromley Communications, San Antonio; Leo Burnett Worldwide, Chicago; Conill, Kaplan Thaler Group, Publicis USA and Saatchi & Saatchi, N.Y.; Team One, El Segundo, Calif.; Starcom MediaVest, N.Y., Chicago. WPP Group's Grey Worldwide, MediaCom and Wing Latino, N.Y. Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore. Carol H. Williams Advertising, Oakland.
POWER PLAY: Defying the law of gravity in the supposedly mature package-goods industry, P&G's sales soared 10.4% to $56.7 billion in the fiscal year ended June 30, without substantial acquisitions or blockbuster new products. Perhaps most impressive was the continued momentum of some prior initiatives and comeback stories. For the third year in a row, P&G had sales, share and earnings growth in all brands, categories and regions-a testament to efforts by James Stengel, 50, to foster consistency. He helped renew P&G's commitment to innovation, soliciting 40 ideas for marketing experiments and getting 100.
DOWNSIDE: Ad creative was never seen as P&G's strong suit, and despite progress, still isn't. P&G ranked 11th among all advertisers at this year's Cannes ad festival in a tally by Creativity. Not bad, until you consider that P&G is the world's biggest advertiser. At Cannes, P&G fared well in print but poorly in TV, particularly in the U.S. Since TV ads in big countries get the most management scrutiny, that reinforced arguments that P&G's managers, not its agencies, are holding back creative progress.