Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"Q&A: Nathan Homer, Olympics project director, P&G UK & Ireland

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Medium, a photo by h.koppdelaney on Flickr.
Procter & Gamble (P&G) launched its "first truly global" marketing and advertising campaign ahead of the London 2012 Olympics earlier this month, which forms part of its Proud Sponsors of Mums work.

Alongside its TV ad The Hardest Job is the Best Job, P&G's campaign features digital and social activity, including a series videos of athletes from around the world thanking their mums, which will go live on YouTube on 8 May, as well as the Thank You, Mum app on Facebook.

new media age spoke to Nathan Homer, P&G UK & Ireland Olympics project director about the different roles digital plays for P&G and its brands and how it has helped to promote a more global conversation.

What inspired the move to make this a global campaign?

By playing off something that is a big global event, consumers will be able to engage wherever they are. One of our tricks is to make local relevance come alive, because while the Olympics is global, the bit that makes it really special is when it's your country, your athletes and your colours, so it was important for us to get the balance right.

How will digital help P&G deliver this campaign?

It enables us to reassess where content may go. Content we initially planned for India might work in the UK or vice versa because as long as it's linked into our core idea, it will translate.

A good example of that is the videos we've made of athletes and their mums. There will be about 50 from athletes all over the world that will be shown on YouTube. Of course, [as I'm from the UK,] I'm more likely to associate with the story of Chris Hoy and his mum, but the stories I've seen from India, the US and Brazil are fascinating because they're driven by something that is a big universal idea, which is being a mum and being a family.

Someone in China who is a huge fan of a US athlete might type that person's name into Google and discover our video, which could lead them to watch others too. It's clearly a facilitator for content that in the past would have been too local to live much more globally.

What else is included in the digital side of the campaign and what are the benefits?

It's an incredible way for people to genuinely engage and join in the conversation. If you look at the Thank You, Mums app we've just put live globally, anyone anywhere can join in the common joy of saying thanks to someone special.

Equally interesting is to see some of the thank yous from elsewhere in the world. We've found that people are fascinated by the fact they are joining in with something so global. The person before them could have posted something from Argentina, while the person before that could have been in Indonesia. A lot of the reason people go and seek things out is because they love the access the digital space gives.

What role does digital play for P&G in general?

Digital means a lot more today than it did when we first started to use it. Before, it was just about having a website, but when we think of digital now, while we use it as an all encompassing word, we actually split it down very clearly into its different assets.

We have what we call iMedia, which includes things like banners. It is often very similar to our print advertising, but we adapt it so it works online and can be interactive. That is the most basic form of digital we do.

We then have a huge social media section, which encompasses the conversations we have with consumers today. iMedia is more traditional, us talking to the consumer, whereas social media is really about encouraging consumers to be part of a conversation.

Top Tips for mums is a good example of that. We may throw a few ideas out there but it's more about facilitating a discussion and a debate among people that know far more about it than we do.

The last section is ecommerce, which is extremely important and is becoming even more important in terms of sales.

How do all these different elements work together?

Clearly, while we think of them separately and work on them fairly separately, they are very much linked.We have iMedia that links directly to sales because it takes the consumer straight to an ecommerce outlet, for example.

As consumers engage online, they are able and willing to jump around very quickly. They will often have multiple tabs open and will be having a conversation on one, shopping on another and doing something else on a third.

Source Citation
Tesseras, Lucy. "Q&A: Nathan Homer, Olympics project director, P&G UK & Ireland." New Media Age Online 30 Apr. 2012. Communications and Mass Media Collection. Web. 1 May 2012.
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Gale Document Number: GALE|A288179069

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