Procter & Gamble

By Published on .

By any measure, Procter & Gamble Co. put on a display of marketing mastery in 2004 that ranked among the best in its 167-year history.

Sales soared 19% to $51.7 billion in its fiscal year ended June 30. Even without acquisitions and considerable currency effect, sales rose 8%. In the U.S., where P&G's beauty, personal and home care categories have been flat or sluggish, its sales shot up 8.3% to $23.7 billion.

Advertising was a big part of the picture. While new brands like Prilosec OTC drove much of P&G's growth, old brands thrived, too. P&G took leadership in gastrointestinal drugs thanks to Prilosec, Metamucil and Pepto-Bismol. The latter was driven by a campaign by Publicis Groupe's Publicis Worldwide, New York, where actors dance interpretations of the gastric symptoms Pepto treats. P&G launched new Charmin packaging via the Super Bowl.

Emerging from a hole dug in the 1990s, P&G vied to regain leadership in U.S. diapers via ads like one by Publicis' Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, for Pampers, where a baby takes advantage of stretchy diapers to suck on his toes. But P&G wasn't just resting on its old ad model. Crest launched a Vanilla Mint flavor with an integrated marketing effort on NBC' s "Apprentice 2." Through its Publicis' Starcom MediaVest Group connection, P&G began experimenting with "showmercials," using four 2-minute pods of interrelated commercials to tell stories.

Chairman-CEO A.G. Lafley in November challenged executives to launch up to 40 such experiments. "We need to reinvent the way we market to consumers," he said. To that end, P&G last summer also picked two new communications planning agencies-Starcom MediaVest and Aegis Group's Carat.

Perhaps most telling, P&G's top internal marketing award for 2004 went to a brand that does little advertising, but instead relies on one-to-one marketing with consumers: the ultra-prestige SK-II beauty brand.

U.S. ad budget $1.74 billion

Jan.-Aug. 2004

up 8.6%

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