FMCG giants Procter & Gamble and Unilever are moving digital to the core of their media planning by getting digital agencies in at ground level on planning strategies.
Speaking at the Venice Festival of Media, Alan Rutherford, VP of global media at Unilever, and Bernhard Glock, VP of global media & communication at P&G – who between them control a media budget of over $12bn – both stressed the importance of digital agencies being involved from the outset of planning.
"In most P&G businesses, the default thinking is that the ad agency is the first to be contacted," said Glock. "But you might need a digital agency at the table for digital work, and if that is the case you should talk to them first."
The pair also issued a rallying cry for better talent in the industry, people who understand the new media environment and how it can be exploited to connect brands with consumers in a relevant and engaging way.
"We know the interruption model is gone and we need to engage with our consumers," said Rutherford. "We need planners who understand the fundamentals of 21st century media planning as online moves from an information channel to an entertainment one. We need talent that understands how to use technology in an engaging and relevant manner, and for our agency partners to take this up."
Rutherford also stressed that the battle for consumers was not about a channel approach, but a consumer approach based on providing entertainment, communities and ideas that change the way people behave.
"The question is about screen-based creativity," he said. "It's not about mass versus digital, it's about putting together the most relevant mix to reach your target audience. Integrated offerings have improved and you need a framework that nurtures collaboration between agencies."