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P&G wants to shake up TV ad buying

Any time one of the world’s leading advertisers speaks, you can bet we’re listening. P&G has armed chief brand officer Marc Pritchard with a $4 billion dollar plus yearly budget to market its cavalcade of brands, and he’s now proclaiming that he will change the rules of TV advertising by nixing the upfronts and negotiating directly with media outlets moving forward.

The brand chief took the stage at the Association of National Advertisers Media and Measurement Conference this week to shake the industry by its shoulders.

And it was not a gentle shake either.

“A better name than the ‘upfronts’ might be the ‘FOMOs. We almost always end up buying too much, but we can buy ‘options’ to return some spending without penalty — and to avoid the open ‘scatter market’ where even higher prices are extremely punishing,” he said. “Buying too much inventory is inefficient at best, and at worst, leads to excess frequency through heavy ad loads in programs — annoying consumers and wasting money. The system must change.”

The consumer-packaged-goods company is a Madison Avenue mainstay and a decades-long driving force in the TV-upfront division. Pritchard said television networks leverage information about client budget forecasts for an advantage in negotiations, and they’ve had enough of it.

“We’ve taken control of when we negotiate and buy TV media,” he said. “To level the playing field, we negotiate directly with as many as possible.”

While Pritchard and P&G look to change the TV ad-buying process, a call to action is being made for streaming TV to deliver a diet of different ads. With more people watching streaming TV, the difficulty in knowing who streams what and where is becoming a bigger frustration for advertisers, the Wall Street Journal reports. As spending increases in the industry, better transparency and visibility is desired from brands.

Speaking of visibility, have you seen the massive amount of live sports on TV these days? Sports were cancelled for months thanks to COVID, but they’ve gotten off the mat during the summer season, dusted themselves off, and are now in full swing.

Take Saturday, for example, where, in a single day you can watch the NBA Conference Finals, the Stanley Cup Finals, the final weekend of MLB, college football, MLS, and if you have some extra time and money in your pocket, boxing and UFC pay per view fights as well. Make sure to go to bed at a reasonable hour, though, because the NFL looms all day Sunday too..

All that live sports is surely a good thing for advertisers, right? Well nothing brings viewers to the screen — and keeps advertisers satisfied — like sports, but viewership during the current reboot has fallen short of advertisers’ expectations, according to a new report from Digiday.

On the other side of the table (literally), the upstart legalized sports betting sector continues to proliferate. So much so, that Sinclair just hired J.R. McCabe to oversee gaming ahead of its push into sports betting. The media conglomerate wants to generate more revenue from the regional sports networks it bought from Walt Disney last year by leaning into gambling. The broadcast station network is looking to “monetize the myriad opportunities the company has to drive future growth.”