Pete Carter was fully prepared to really retire when he left Procter & Gamble Co. in August. But he says people started approaching him to tap his expertise on agencies, which makes sense given that, by his estimate, he’s evaluated about 300 of them in recent years for P&G.
So the man who since 2018 has been a key player in the “Flow” part of P&G’s “Fixed and Flow” agency model – in which the consumer goods giant tries new shops on projects while keeping agencies of record on the bulk of brand work – has begun an agency consulting business. But it’s an atypical one. He steers marketers away from conducting traditional agency reviews and counsels agencies on how to fix their own branding.
None of this was in Carter’s plan Aug. 1 when he finished work at P&G after 40 years, most recently as group VP of brand building integrated communications. That’s a long title for a job heading the company’s 50-person in-house advertising and communications consultancy, reporting to Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard.
Carter had a list of vacation destinations and a plan for watching his grandkids. But then he started getting consulting inquiries from industry contacts on both the client and agency sides. P&G isn’t among the clients, he says, and he declined to name others, citing confidentiality.
As an indication as to how ad hoc the process was, Carter didn’t have a name or an LLC set up for his consultancy until he formed Creative Haystack LLC on Monday. As the name implies, Carter sees his work primarily as helping clients find just the right creative needle in a large haystack of choices, not just in terms of agencies, but also in marketing propositions.