Power Players 2009

P&G's Marc Pritchard Is Ad Age's No. 1 Power Player

Despite Cutbacks, the Packaged-Goods Giant Is Still the Largest Spender

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Last Year
THE POWER: Last year's cutbacks aside, P&G still spends more on marketing than any marketer in the U.S. or, for that matter, the world. Iconic brands such as Tide, Gillette, Olay and Bounty, while hurt or challenged by the recession, continue to hold dominant shares in their categories or segments while commanding significant price premiums over competitors and private labels. Despite a huge investment in traditional media, P&G and Mr. Pritchard still have plenty to spare on a growing budget for digital and nontraditional media.

THE NUMBERS: U.S. sales were down 0.7% for the fiscal year ended June 30. Organic sales increased 2% but steadily decelerated over the course of the fiscal year. The company lost share broadly in the U.S. and globally. P&G spent $3.2 billion on measured media in 2008. First-half 2009 spend was $1.18 billion, down 19.6% from the same period in 2008.

THE KEY LIEUTENANTS: With his elevation to global brand-building officer, Mr. Pritchard now has Chris Hassall and Phil Duncan, the PR and design czars, respectively, as direct reports. Melanie Healey, newly appointed group president-North America, who reports to Vice Chairman-Global Operations Werner Geissler, leads another key part of the U.S. marketing effort, with P&G's corps of line managers still making most key decisions for brands.

THE CHALLENGE: P&G's emphasis on premium brands has made it far more vulnerable to recession than many would have predicted. That, combined with its focus on developing markets, means it has to get leaner. But its performance vs. global peers began slipping even before the recession began, leading some analysts and investors to believe it has deeper problems than the recession.

THE AGENCIES: Publicis Groupe shops dominate the roster, with more than half of the business and P&G's roughly $1 billion in annual agency fees. Saatchi & Saatchi, Starcom MediaVest Group and Publicis are the key relationships here. Certainly WPP Group, led by Grey, is the number-two player, but Sir Martin Sorrell's dreams of more. Omnicom Group, led by BBDO, rounds out the roster.

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