P&G’s Pritchard: Marketers Need More From Digital Platforms Than Audit Agreements

Marc-Pritchard-Chief-Brand-OfficerSpeaking Thursday at the ANA Media Conference, Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard was pleased that Facebook and Google had agreed to independent MRC audits, but he emphasized that the audits are only the first steps toward improving the media supply chain.

“It’s not enough to accept [audit pledges] until the audits are done and that transparency is in place,” he said. “We’ve been more than patient.”

Pritchard also cited unnamed platforms – presumably Snapchat, Twitter and Pinterest – that he expects will agree to MRC audits this year.

His speech underscored the industry debate over the digital media supply chain that he initiated earlier this year at the IAB Leadership Meeting.

Pritchard said marketers across the industry should reject some common refrains from digital platforms, like user privacy concerns (“understandable, but we don’t want any private data on users”) or the existence of third-party measurement partners (“even the auditors need auditing”), which obscure results from brands.

“There is no sustainable competitive advantage for anyone in a complicated, obscured, fraudulent supply chain,” he said.

Digital leaders like Google and Facebook have established a competitive advantage, but since both are almost entirely ad-supported, it’s marketers who define sustainability.

“We’re choosing to vote with our dollars” by spending only with media companies, he said, that have complied with MRC viewability standards, undergone an MRC audit and been accredited by the Trustworthy Accountability Group, an industry group established to set digital anti-fraud baselines by the end of 2017.

Asked at one point for advice to smaller brands that don’t have leverage like P&G, Pritchard said that “regardless of size, the clarity with which you ask questions and make demands will go a long way” in driving change from digital media sellers.

“You’ll be surprised if you go in and clearly say, ‘This is what I want,’” Pritchard said. “There are still a lot of options, a lot of places where you can put your money.”

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