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Collaborate and Innovate: CEW's Advancing the Industry with Ed Shirley

Posted: October 26, 2010

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Innovation is the lifeblood of this industry, and we must understand what consumers are looking to achieve. But we quit on innovation too quickly. We launch and leave, instead of launch and leverage. We keep launching new products because we think that is the only way retailers will give us space. We [at P&G] are trying to change that approach.

There is commercial innovation, too—and that challenge is how to present the product in a meaningful way. We have done that through tie-ins with Gillette and Nascar, Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Head & Shoulders and with a corporate commercial during the Olympics that struck an emotional chord with moms across America.

Regarding Troy, even ESPN was talking about his 'head & shoulders' hair. There was nothing changed about the product; it was a commercial innovation.

Being Blogger-friendly

We use bloggers a lot. If you have a brand that delivers on its promise and the bloggers talk about it, you will create awareness that will lead to trial. It used to be that when you launched a product you would wait weeks until it was firmly in the market before you [advertised]. Now, we are seeding things ahead [of launch]. Before launching a new Gillette razor, we gave it to leading male bloggers as a trial. We said, ‘If you like it, talk about it.’ Of course, it was more risky. But we gave them 100 samples each to send out to their followers. So, we had thousands [of razors] out there before the actual launch.

Tapping Social Media

For the restage of Pantene, we also used social networking to get people to talk about it. And the Old Spice Man social media campaign with Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, even drew a response from ABC newsman George Stephanopolous who asked him (Isaiah Mustafa, the spokesmodel featured in Old Spice media placements) what advice he would give to President Obama to gain more support with women. This was the real George.