While speaking at the Association of National Advertisers’ Media Leadership Conference yesterday (5 March), Pritchard said that the use of digital technology for creativity marks one of the most important moments the advertising industry has ever seen.
However, this comes with both benefits and downturns. Pritchard said: “We are only at the beginning of mastering this amazing new creative canvas, and the media machine behind it.”
The ad industry is still in the very early days of commercialising digital media. Where marketers have been buying TV media for 70 years; display ads started just over 15 years ago, according to Pritchard.
“Big opportunities come with big challenges. We’re starting to encounter some bumpy terrain on our journey that we need to proactively address,” he added.
Brands should be careful of becoming obsessed with technology when it comes at the cost of creating a better customer experience according to Pritchard.
“We’ve all been understandably racing to master the new technologies in this ever-changing machine, but I have a little secret for you: we will never master all of these technologies.
“We need to lose our obsession with the technology in the machine, and turn our attention to what really matters – the consumer experience,” added Pritchard.
The P&G executive credits the recent success of the Always ‘Like a Girl’ campaign to focusing on a big brand idea and brand experience, as well as using video, social, search and TV to deliver the message.
Pritchard calls for brands to be aware of the downside of digital, but in the same way that technology has caused these problems, it can also solve them, he said.
Transparency, bot fraud and viewability are all problems born from the technology “machine”, but there are ways to solve them.
Speaking on bot fraud, Pritchard said that advertisers are paying for ads served to robots, not people. This is increasingly becoming a problem as brands become obsessed with impressions.
However, he said: “Bot fraud is detectable: if an ad gets served multiple times- like 50 times a second- to the same ID, it’s obvious it’s a robot. We have more sophisticated technology than at any time in history to detect and verify what actually happens to these ads.”
Pitchard said that industry actors including advertisers, agencies, publishers, need to work together to create further trust and transparency and tackle technology problems together.
Procter & Gamble heavily invests in digital media. At the company’s earning’s call for the first quarter of 2014, it was revealed that the company invests 30% of its media spend in digital.