P&G, Unilever slash TV spending

Neff, Jack; Cardona, Mercedes M.
March 2000
Advertising Age;3/20/2000, Vol. 71 Issue 12, p4
Trade Publication
This article focuses on the decision of package-goods companies Procter & Gamble (P&G) Co. and Unilever PLC to start slashing television (TV) spending in 1999. One reason for the decision of the companies is that dot-coms, telephone companies and drug companies are pouring millions into TV, causing lower-margin package-goods companies to be simply priced out of the market. P&G cut TV spending to 1.2 billion U.S. dollars, down more than 11 percent compared to the year-earlier period, as part of an overall decline of 4.3 percent in measured media spending for the 12 months ended November 30, 1999. Unilever, which faced an earnings disappointment of its own in November 1993, is slashing overall advertising spending 22 percent to 547 million U.S. dollars. Procter & Gamble's move from TV to print is more pronounced in beauty care, which saw several radical shifts in media outlays in 1999. P&G slashed overall spending on what had been its biggest-spending brand Pantene, from 149 million to 71 million U.S. dollars, increasing the print share of the budget from 26 to 37 percent. Pantene, despite the cut in spending and greater emphasis on lower-cost print, grew its market share for the 52-week period ended January 30, 2000. Its share was up 0.2 percentage points to 14.1 percent in shampoo. The exodus from TV to print also could provide a glimpse into how P&G plans to use efficiency to keep launching new brands without breaking its marketing budget and triggering another devastating earnings surprise.


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