P&G, Publicis form new agency prototype for Oral-B business

CINCINNATI AND PARIS: Procter & Gamble has awarded a new unnamed division of the Publicis Groupe all of the marcomms activity for its Oral-B product line, the number-one selling toothbrush brand in the world.

CINCINNATI AND PARIS: Procter & Gamble has awarded a new unnamed division of the Publicis Groupe all of the marcomms activity for its Oral-B product line, the number-one selling toothbrush brand in the world.

As part of the alignment, which might serve as a prototype for future P&G brands, the company is also piloting a new compensation model. Elizabeth Ming, external relations, oral care at P&G, said the consumer products giant, which reportedly spends around $6 billion a year on advertising, is shifting to a pay-per-performance model, across the entire multi-disciplinary team.

"It's based on the results the business has... it's not going to be [a] paid-for-service [model]," Ming said. "It's going to be a shift in the way all of our agencies are paid. It will reward the whole holistic agency team."

P&G declined to discuss how that new model would be implemented.

The Publicis consortium will handle PR, advertising, package design, interactive marketing, shopper relations, and media planning and buying. The group will comprise personnel from Publicis agencies, such as Manning Selvage & Lee, Publicis, Starcom MediaVest Group, Digitas, Arc, and Saatchi & Saatchi X.

The new model is scheduled to take effect on July 1. While the consortium will be staffed by members from these agency brands, the firms themselves will not work on the account.

It has not yet been determined how many MS&L employees will be a part of this group, but for those taking part, Oral-B will be their sole focus. Publicis and MS&L directed all inquiries to P&G.

Tami Jones, external relations corporate manager, said this new marcomms approach is something that may be used on other P&G brands. Because of the global distribution of its products, P&G wants a more seamless existence between its agencies in order to create similar brand messages across the globe.

"We're viewing this as a pilot for P&G, but Oral-B was ready for a change in its business approach and how it worked with its agencies," Jones said. "We're looking for more integration from all of the various disciplines. We hope that having these people on the same team at the same table will create bigger and better ideas that can translate across all disciplines.

"This was really designed to make it simpler for both sides," she added, "with one team leader representing a collective group of agencies working with a senior brand leader on our side. It minimizes the transactions."

"We've seen a lot of success doing it in other parts of the P&G business, especially with a good partnership between PR and interactive," Ming said. "We're excited about what the model will be able to do in creating more impact and higher ROI on our PR spend."

Jones said it was too early to discuss any concrete marketing or communications plans for the product line.

Porter Novelli was AOR for Oral-B for the past ten years.

Publicis beat out Omnicom Group for this new account. Up until now, Omnicom had handled the majority of advertising and marketing work for Oral-B. Back in January, the holding companies were asked to put together teams that would meet the needs of Oral-B's business.

"Oral-B laid out what it was looking for, what types of things we wanted to approach, and the challenges we're facing," Jones said. "And each holding company put together a team representing the capabilities needed."

Ming explained that the new approach is about taking Oral-B, acquired by P&G through its purchase of Gillette in 2005, to the "next level" and not about a rebranding.

Jones said this is a separate venture from P&G's PR agency consolidation efforts PRWeek reported on February 19. Both MS&L and Porter Novelli were among the five agencies that, as a result of the consolidation, are expected to handle and vie for brand-focused work.

No time limit has been assigned to the contract.

While Jones said this approach may not necessarily result in more PR for Oral-B, other brands that adopt this agency model could have more of a PR focus.

"It's going to be different business by business," Jones said. "We'll just have to wait and see how it plays out for Oral-B."

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