I had a meeting last week with UKA, the conversation digressed and we started chatting about P&G.  Their current campaign states the following: “We are P&G. We make many of your best-loved brands. We’ve been listening to mums for over 170 years. That’s why we’re delighted to be proud sponsor of mums.”  We debated how P&G can possibly claim to be ‘proud sponsor of mums’ when they aren’t actually paying for any official rights.  SPAR is an official sponsor of UKA and European Athletics.  The governing bodies have rights to sell. We pay for these rights and then use them.  To my knowledge, there is no governing body for ‘mums’ and therefore P&G have no ability to buy any rights to give them the ability to state what they are stating.  Curious eh? In reality though, not an issue i am likely to lose much sleep over.

However, what i find more interesting is how this campaign combined with their ‘worldwide partner’ status with the Olympic Games is designed to start to help consumers understand the size and scale of P&G and in effect help them build a superbrand.  P&G or Proctor & Gamble make a variety of the world’s top brands and sell billions of products every day.  Their brands include Pampers, Fairy, Gillette, Ariel, Lenor, Max Factor, Duracell, Olay, Pringles, Flash and more.  They seem to have recently decided that they want consumers around the world to understand who they are and what they do. 

But why?  Is this a good idea?  Will it give consumers additional confidence to buy P&G products if they are aware that other products are also made by P&G?  Will it build trust?  Am i more likely to buy Pampers if i already buy and trust Fairy and they are made by the same company? Maybe, i guess.  But is there a danger that people will dislike learning that some of their favourite brands are part of one of the world’s largest companies?  Will they see it as a good thing or another company trying to dominate the world?

What do others do? Are the same people aware of all the products that Unilever make?  Are sports consumers aware that Reebok is owned by Adidas?  Are car customers aware that Volkswagen owns Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, Skoda and Volkswagen. Do soft drink consumers know the full range and extent of the products made by the Coca-Cola company?  Do people know that General Mills owns Old El Paso, Green Giant, Betty Crocker, Haagen Dazs and much more.  Does it matter?

I don’t really have an answer.  I know a lot about what these major companies do probably because i have spent most of my career in FMCG marketing. Does the average consumer know?  I doubt it.  But will it be a good thing if they are told… only time will tell.

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