By Published on .

TORONTO-"Who is Mr. Artzt? And why isn't he talking about me?"

Pedestrians puzzled over that question and others appearing on outdoor boards and transit shelters here in June and July.

"I was sure it was [an ad for] a new beer," said one young man walking by one of the boards. "Maybe it's a vendetta or this guy had an argument with someone who's trying to get back at him," said a college student.

In fact, the ads from outdoor company Mediacom were a reaction to Procter & Gamble Co. Chairman-Chief Executive Edwin L. Artzt, who recently shook up the ad world with a speech at the American Association of Advertising Agencies meeting (AA, May 16, et seq.). Mr. Artzt said the future of ad-supported TV programming is uncertain. As a result, he said, mass marketers like P&G will find it harder to achieve the reach and frequency needed to support their brands.

P&G spends 90% of its $3 billion worldwide budget on TV. In contrast, it spent just $109 million on U.S. outdoor ads last year.

So Mediacom executives decided to try to draw the attention of the marketer and other package-goods companies to outdoor's reach-82% of P&G's target audience, said Yvonne McKinnon, VP-advertising and promotion at the Gannett Outdoor Group unit.

The campaign-using about 100 boards that would have cost about $58,000-did catch P&G's attention. Within 24 hours of the first outdoor board going up, P&G officials in Canada called Mediacom to find out what was going on.

"We were amazed and delighted that with this relatively small campaign, we got P&G's attention" quickly, said Kevin O'Leary, senior VP-marketing at Mediacom.

Mr. Artzt couldn't be reached for comment, but P&G wasn't amused.

"I can tell you that when individuals or companies want to use our names, our brand names or anything else, the norm is to call us and let us know. This was not done in this case," said a P&G spokesman in Canada.

Did Mediacom sway P&G? It doesn't seem like it.

The spokesman said: "We make all of our business decisions based on research and data, and not by what's necessarily provocative or on someone else's agenda."

Most Popular
In this article: