P&G launches first ever UK corporate ads

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The Independent Online

Procter & Gamble will next weekend start promoting its own corporate brand for the first time in Britain, in addition to the outlay on campaigns for its 50-plus household products – from Pringles to Pampers to Pantene – which already make it the country's biggest advertiser.

As the Government cuts its advertising spend by nearly 50 per cent and prepares to close down the Central Office of Information, P&G has opened its wallet, increasing its adspend by 33 per cent to £189m last year.

In an interview with The Independent, Roisin Donnelly, head of marketing for P&G in the UK and Ireland, said she expected the process to intensify ahead of the London Olympics, especially in television advertising.

"Television has continued to grow year-on-year and during tough economic times we have got more people watching more television for more hours which is very encouraging.

"We really follow our consumer and we continue to do strong television campaigns and they are working very effectively for all the brands," she said. "I think London 2012 is a great opportunity for the media market generally. Certainly in 2010 we saw a bit of a recovery and 2011 is looking like a good year for the media industry in the UK as a whole."

P&G will this Sunday – Mother's Day – launch its "Proud Sponsor of Mums" campaign, which for the first time in the UK is an attempt to promote the P&G corporate brand.

Donnelly admits that a company which boasts an average 5.7 products in British homes is hardly a household name in its own right. "People know us as a company but they don't know much about it and they sometimes get confused about what brands we actually produce, so we are starting with low awareness," Ms Donnelly said.

By advertising the P&G name, the group hopes to increase the purchasing intent of customers by capitalising on levels of trust in other brands.

"It's not something that is going to happen overnight but if you trust and love one brand and you know the company is making other brands then you will trust them more quickly," Ms Donnelly said.

The group has a string of high profile brands, of which Fairy washing up liquid is the one with the largest UK reach. Pantene and Olay are among the company's market-leading personal hygiene products. Pampers nappies is another household name.

"Pampers is a brand people have a very close relationship with in the UK, it's long been the leading nappy brand in the UK and most babies are Pampers babies," Ms Donnelly said.

The campaign, which is linked to P&G's sponsorship of London 2012 and subsequent Olympic games up until 2020, builds on the success of a North American "Proud Sponsor of Moms" campaign which accompanied the Vancouver winter games last year.

In the run up to the Olympics, P&G will run a series of separate campaigns linked to product brands. "In some cases we will have individual Olympic athletes endorsing the individual brands," Ms Donnelly said.

The television presenter and mother Edith Bowman has been brought in to support the Proud Sponsor of Mums campaign, but the television ads will also feature "real" mothers, such as Stephanie Quigley, who is a P&G brand manager.

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