P&G, Mondelez and Dell CMOs on how to create standout creative

“We are on the precipice of a golden age in marketing because of the way we can reach people. We need to seize it”, according to Marc Pritchard, P&G’s chief brand officer.

Speaking at an event hosted by The Economist at Cannes Lions today (24 June), Pritchard said that digital and data have offered marketers huge opportunities to reach and engage consumers. He was, however, quick to add that creativity should remain at the heart of marketers’ thinking if “the golden age” is to be achieved.

Pritchard was joined by Dana Anderson, CMO of Mondelez and Dell’s global marketing vice president Alison Dew on the panel which tackled the subject of creativity. Here are three ways they said you can create better creative.

More diverse teams lead to better creative

A key theme at Cannes this year is the need to represent your brand’s audience not only in advertising but in the people behind the creative. Speaking on the panel, Drew said: “Creativity is not just about demographics it’s about not sterotyping humans. There has been a lot of stupid marketing based on stereotypes. You need to represent your audience and that needs a wide range of diverse talent.

Anderson agreed, adding that Mondelez had been as “guilty of dumb dad ads” offering outdated sterotypes as any brand. “It’s our responsibility to be as representative as possible”, she added. Pritchard, who was celebrating winning a Grand Prix for its “Like a Girl” campaign for Always, which attempted to address how damaging stereotypes can be, added: “Creativity and innovation is about making connections. Diversity – whether that is gender or ethnicity – is when you get the magic”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtk3JTHfWm8

The optimum global local/approach

For all three panellists, who work for global brands, the need to strike the right balance between creating cost efficiencies through a global approach while respecting local nuances is a big challenge.

Drew said her challenge is to spend less on production and other non-working media costs but “make advertising as local as possible”. She added that it was essential to avoid “stupid stuff” that did not translate across the world, offering the example of a US ad that featured people taking PCs to the beach. “No one does that – maybe in the US – but nowhere else”. Anderson pointed to the “Wonderfilled” Oreo campaign, which was altered to “sharing” in China because wonder was not a word recognised and sharing chimed with Chinese New Year traditions, she claimed. “This was only in China but it remained true to the spirit of the campaign”.

Pritchard said: “The trick is identifying those things that transcend the world. You cannot be dictatorial and domgmatic and say we’re not going to different”.

Removing the barriers that get in the way

Responding to a question about the obstacles that get in the way of creating great marketing, Drew said: “Humans get in the way of creativity. We sometimes talk too much about technology and changes in media and not enough about the ideas and insight that drives that work”. She added that for a “complex” organisation with the need to control costs at the same time as reflecting local nuances, a different attitude is needed. “There needs to be a sense of ‘we’re all in this together’ and a pride in saying ‘we created this’ and a collective sense of we will be better.”

Pritchard identified a lack of leadership among clients in their relationship with their agencies as one problem.

“One thing that gets in the way is the client. I am a firm believer that the client gets the advertising they deserve. Lack of leadership, lack of clarity, lack of courage and lack of saying yes gets in the way. What a client needs to do is make sure they have the right team in place and that team should be small and senior. They should be crystal clear on what the brand stands for and then they should set the bar high and be willing to say yes. All the other stuff in my view is just excuses.”

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