World's biggest advertiser going digital

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Procter and Gamble (P&G), the world's largest consumer packaged goods company, has been discussing Internet marketing initiatives to help cut advertising costs and reach a larger audience.

P&G sells household products from razors to shampoo in 180 countries, represents some huge brands - Fairy, Pantene, Pampers, Braun, Duracell, Olay and Ariel amongst them.

As such, P&G is also responsible for the world's biggest advertising budget: and now new head of marketing Marc Pritchard is looking to shave $1bn from that annual cost by 2016.

Against a backdrop of company-wide savings totalling around $10bn, such steep changes to marketing - at such a massive firm - are bound to resonate globally too.

Mr Pritchard told the Wall Street Journal that, along with traditional cost-cutting measures such as job reorganisation, spending efficiency changes and reining in pricey TV ads, P&G were now looking at lower-cost digital marketing measures.

The 51-year-old, who has been chief of global marketing at P&G since 2008, said: "I took a small group of people when I first got here to learn everything we can about digital, and get that through the company."

One of the cost-cutting measures will see combined brand activity around global events: the 2012 Olympics provides the perfect platform to test this.

"You'll see some very heavy-duty activity for our Olympics program," Mr Pritchard said. "It'll be Twitter, Google, YouTube, Yahoo! Those are going to be some pretty essential parts of the whole program.

"We have more than 30 brands doing Olympic activities, 150 athletes, all those brands have Facebook pages, all those athletes have Facebook pages. Then we go out, create an event, talk about it, push it out, through broadcast and digital. Then we have community managers who are amplifying the discussion, engaging on Facebook, on YouTube, things like Twitter. That's the way it'll work."

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