Defensive Strategy

P&G’s Olympic Shocker

16 Feb 2010  

The 2010 Winter Olympics are turning out to be quite surprising, at least in terms of the advertising.

Topping the list is P&G, which this weekened unveiled a new advertising campaign that represents a huge strategic shift for the company.

P&G has long been one of the world’s best examples of a company with a “house of brands” strategy.  The name P&G has largely served just as a company name.  Each brand stood alone: Tide, Crest, Papers and all the rest.  While it was possible to figure out the brands were from P&G, this fact was not promoted at all.  P&G put coupons for all the brands in the same Sunday insert, but that was about as far as it went.

This week, however, P&G started advertising the P&G brand.  This is a dramatic strategic shift.  The company is targeting Moms with the tag line: “P&G. Proud Sponsor of Moms.”  You can see all the ads and other elements of the program at the website,

The campaign is pure emotion. There are no attributes and no benefits. The ads include many P&G brands; the logos flash up at the end of the commercials. But the ads are overwhelmingly branded P&G.

This is big shift for P&G and it is a bit hard to figure out.  Has P&G decided that the corporate parent brand plays an important role in decision-making?  Will the company turn P&G into a consumer brand?  Will we be seeing a lot more of P&G?

There are pros and cons to a move like this.  Supporting P&G is certainly efficient, since P&G has brands in dozens of categories.  But it isn’t clear how much consumers care about the P&G brand or to what degree P&G can own a positioning that really differentiates and adds value.  P&G cares about moms.  This is great, but does that make someone choose Crest over Colgate?

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