Two Seconds Is Not Enough for P&G: Pritchard Calls for ‘Next Generation of Digital Ads’

Marc Pritchard sees digital media players making progress on transparency and brand-safety, but the chief brand officer of Procter & Gamble Co., the world’s biggest advertiser, has an even more fundamental problem: People really don’t want to watch ads, particularly in social media.

So he’s pressing the biggest players to help come up with “the next generation of digital ads.” In a speech to Dmexco on Wednesday, Pritchard pointed to average digital ad viewing time of 1.7 seconds, with only 20% of ads viewed more than 2 seconds. That’s one reason he believes the marketing world collectively is only delivering low-single-digit sales growth despite $200 bilion in digital and $600 billion in broader marketing spending.

“Obviously we stopped wasting money on 30-second ads, and we’re designing ads to work in 2 seconds,” Pritchard said, according to an advance transcript. “Of course, we’re negotiating to pay only for the ads people actually see. But this raises a deeper question. Looking at it through the lens of the consumer, how valuable are these ads? For example, people use social media to share things about their lives with each other. And let’s face it, ads are annoying in that context.”

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