P&G’s Pritchard: ‘We Don’t Want To Waste Time And Money On A Crappy Media Supply Chain’

marc-pritchard-chief-brand-officerP&G isn’t going to give digital a free pass anymore.

Its agencies, ad tech partners and publishers must enable viewability and third-party measurement and root out fraud. Contracts must be transparent.

And if they don’t? P&G will pull media spend. According to its 2016 financial report, P&G spent $7.2 billion on advertising last year.

“We will work with and buy media only from the entities that comply,” P&G Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard told attendees at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting in Hollywood, Fla., on Sunday. “That’s because we don’t want to waste time and money on a crappy media supply chain.”

The bigger issue driving this push for transparency is the lackluster growth among brands spending big on advertising. “We’re not growing enough,” Pritchard said. “Despite spending an astounding $200 billion in advertising in the US, the growth rate of our collective industries is pretty anemic.”

Partners already know they need to comply – but now the leading US advertiser is sharing how it’s holding its partners accountable with the rest of the industry.

P&G Will Adopt The MRC Viewability Standard.

P&G wants to measure publishers, platforms and walled gardens using the same, MRC-created viewability standard. Digital needs its equivalent of the Nielsen TV Ratings system.

“We spend enormous amounts of time trying to understand, analyze and explain the differences between Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Pandora, YouTube and the dozens of different viewability standards claimed to be right metric for each platform,” Pritchard said.

No more. These digital outlets must support the MRC standard this year. “We will no longer tolerate the ridiculous complexity of different viewability standards,” he said.

Platforms Must Support Third-Party Measurement.

P&G said it allows too much self-reporting from its media partners. The publishers and platforms it works with must adopt third-party measurement. (Facebook, long a holdout for outside measurement, announced it was “in talks” with the MRC at the end of 2016.)

“Incredibly, we’re still tolerating [self-reporting] and accepting excuses like walled gardens and ‘our technology won’t allow it,’” Pritchard said, comparing the current situation to a fox guarding the henhouse.

P&G Will Move To Transparent Agency Contracts.

In the wake of the ANA investigations into agency contracts, P&G did its own investigating. Pritchard admitted the company had uncovered an agency contract that allowed the agency to act as a principal and earn an undisclosed margin on media it bought for the agency.

“Our response was humbling: ‘Oh. I didn’t realize that,’” Pritchard recalled. But P&G won’t tolerate that practice in contracts anymore.

“We are now poring over every agency contract for full transparency by the end of 2017 to include terms requiring funds to be used for media payment only, all rebates to be disclosed and returned and all transactions subject to audit,” he said.

All P&G Partners Must Get TAG-Accredited

P&G doesn’t want to buy fraudulent ads anymore. After a White Ops audit turned up fraud, the company realized that the criminals were better than P&G would ever be.

That led to a new demand: “Any entity touching digital media must get TAG-certified during 2017 to help ensure they are free from fraud,” Pritchard said.

With digital becoming more mature – and its $72 billion in spend surpassing TV – Pritchard said digital needs to take these steps to grow up.

“We’ve been giving a pass to the new media in the spirit of learning,” he said. “We’ve come to our senses. We realize there is no sustainable advantage in a complicated, nontransparent, inefficient and fraudulent media supply chain.”


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  1. When an advertiser spends $2.7BN and feels the need to make statements like “murky at best, fraudulent at worst” to their industry, the industry better take notice. The free for all using cookie’s is surely over. The audience has gone from desktop browser to mobile app anyway.
    Here’s a test for you. Whis is best:
    1. $1CPM, 0.01% CTR and 70% Hard Bounce Rate
    2. $10CPM, 0.2% CTR and 35% Hard Bounce Rate
    Clue. Spray and Pray doesn’t work.