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I was listening to “Why it Matters”, a great little weekly podcast from Ad Age hosted by Hoag Levins. The topic this week was Proctor & Gamble and their alleged embrace of new media by shunning traditional print, radio and broadcast TV. The podcast delved into how much walk is going on with that bold talk.
It seems as though Jim Stengel and A.G. Lafley are talking up a good game about abandoning old media and TV’s thirty-second spot and playing hard into new media opportunities. However, the discussion “Why it Matters” centred around the lack of hard evidence to prove they are stopping their old advertising ways and truly living and breathing in this new media environment.
Could P&G be standing at the edge of a cliff, goading others to jump off? Could they be preaching about leading the way while they are really just inciting others to abandon these traditional areas so P&G can then step back and buy old media at a discount? Is it a big ploy so that P&G can continue to advertise in traditional areas without the clutter from the competition that they convinced to jump and land hard?
I am not much of a conspiracy theorist, but the question has merits and it is worth thinking about. My belief is that we are not seeing radical change on purpose – this is about charting a steady course that will produce long term results by making smart incremental moves versus changing everything all at once. I compare the approach to one of avoiding the perils of a crash diet where results are realized in a matter of days or weeks but are not sustainable over time. I think P&G’s moves are more about a proper regime and balance for their current nutritional needs while starting to do a little exercise to keep them in shape for the future.
They realize this is a long distance marathon and are likely not interested in simply shedding a few pounds to look good in the short term, then yo-you back to where they began.
Check out the podcast over at Ad Age.com.