What’s wrong with a little risk?

March 3rd, 2017

Marc Pritchard is upset. When P&G’s Chief Brand Officer took a closer look at the deals his company had been making with digital publishers, he was not pleased with the inefficiencies he found.

So last month, Pritchard announced that the “days of giving digital a pass are over.” He laid down guidelines that require all P&G digital partners to, among other rules, strictly adhere to standard viewability metrics and verification.

If Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the digital world can’t adhere to the rules Pritchard set down, P&G isn’t interested in doing business. And that’s just fine. I don’t disagree with what Pritchard is doing. He leads the world’s biggest marketer. While so many of us in advertising work for 40-person shops and 10-person start-ups, Pritchard steers a ship of thousands through the seas of commerce. It’s in his interest to throw P&G’s weight around.

But P&G’s renewed focus on the bottom line provides those of us in challenger positions with an opportunity: the opportunity to take a risk. To steal a phrase from Pritchard, the days of placing educated bets are here.

It’s up to smaller players to get comfortable with the unknown. Yes, we should hold vendors to high standards. But we should also hold ourselves to high standards. Standards of innovation. Standards that say our brands will do something no one else has thought of before.

So who will find a better way to use social media? Who will be more interested in an idea than a viewability mandate? Chances are it won’t be P&G. It will be a team of people, working under the radar, working for a team that values risk like they value reward.