Spine-Tingling Perspective From the Client’s World

Those of us lucky enough to be part of a long-term, highly engaged client partnership are in the privileged position of closely observing that client’s business and inner workings on a regular basis. But the hustle and bustle of daily deadlines and talent management can make it hard to step back and reflect on this inner knowledge to pinpoint what’s truly important and inspiring to them beyond the everyday.

This week in Cannes, I had the opportunity to refresh my perspective as I sat and listened to my client, P&G Global Marketing & Brand Building Officer Marc Pritchard, as he spoke to a sea of people from our industry about his vision and mission to release creative genius. He shared work that sparkled, made us laugh and brought tears to the eyes of even the most jaded listeners.

P&G may be celebrating its 175th year, but he said it needs to start fresh every day to keep the attention of the people who buy its products. The mark of a good idea is how it makes you feel, and he is looking for creativity that will make his spine tingle. Here are three key ways he said P&G is working to do this.

1. “Find the fruits in the roots.” Go back to where the brand started, learn from its success and stay true to the basic human insights and tensions it set out to address. He showed us recent Febreze work as a demonstration – the making of a classic product-demo ad for Febreze that showed blindfolded consumers sniffing the shoes and sweaty towels of Azerbaijani Olympic wrestlers and comparing the smell to flowers.

2. “Fight for freedom.” He acknowledged that briefs can be overly long and complex, requiring translation before creatives can respond. Tearing up the old rulebook, he wants to set people free by reinventing at the creative brief as a much simpler business brief.

3. “Have the courage to say yes.” Endless testing and subsequent tweaking can lead creatives to give clients the safest ideas rather than the best ones. He is championing the courage to say yes to bigger, bolder ideas – the ones you just can’t wait to show everyone.

To illustrate his point, he closed the session with P&G’s latest big idea: “Thank You, Mom,” a corporate brand campaign that brings the company’s Olympics sponsorship to life. He shared the great PR results and content it has led, including the “monumentary” “Raising an Olympian,” before closing on the current ad. As one of the 25 million people who have already watched and shared it, I couldn’t fail to shed a tear again at the emotive storytelling and line that “the hardest job in the world, is the best job in the world.” It was proof of how rewarding it is to see your client’s world with a fresh perspective, and an example of the power of spine-tingling work!