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The ANA Conference – Day 2. How P&G "gets" you

Posted by: Burth Helm on October 6, 2006

I’m just running up to blog after watching the morning’s keynote speech by Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley. Lafley took the audience through Procter & Gamble’s thinking about advertisements across different media, from television (best place to dramatize a story), to print (best place to deliver a single, focused message), and gave examples of specific work. Interesting to hear the overview, but what I found by far the most intriguing was hearing about how P&G advertises its products in the physical world, outside of the store. If I had to say what made those examples special? They didn’t just advertise a product, each demonstrated to a specific group of people that P&G had a special understanding of who they were.

The first example Lafley gave was about Biomat, a detergent the company sells in Israel. Last year P&G wanted to market it to the Orthodox Jewish community there, but that group is nearly impossible to reach via traditional media, and it shuns advertising in general. So P&G appealed to how much the culture values helping the weak and poor. It solicited those neighborhoods to donate their old clothing through posters on the street. Then it drove around the neighborhoods in a large truck outfitted with a washing machine in the back, and as people donated clothing, they washed the items with Biomat detergent to show how new it made the clothing look, and how well the poor would be benefited. Biomat market share rose by 50% in the Orthodox community. I think in large part because they approached the community in such a respectful, simple way.

The second example I liked concerned how P&G improved the market share of its Outlast lipstick brand by 25%. It’s one of those lipsticks that never comes off, and lasts something like 16 hours. The company placed special motion-sensor mirrors emblazoned with Outlast ads in women’s restrooms in bars and restaurants – a time when women would be self-conscious about whether their lipstick had rubbed off. To further spur that thought, the motion sensor triggered a recorded voice to say “Is your lipstick still on?” P&G combined that with television ads for Outcast specially targeted to glamour and fashion shows that aired during times that most women get ready to go out. Not rocket science, but pretty damn clever.

Reader Comments

Will Waugh

October 16, 2006 3:20 PM


Thanks for the great coverage. P&G continues to be a great case study for brand marketers.


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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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