Has P&G gone crazy?

Well, that didn’t take long. Two major players in online media – Google and Apple – have recently announced that traditional tracking methodologies (third party cookies and IDFA respectively) would be restricted in their systems.

Last week we predicted that the marketing industry would react to this by trying to replace these tracking technologies with new surveillance techniques.

This week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest consumer packaged goods marketer, had “participated in testing an advertising technique being developed in China to gather iPhone data for targeted ads, a step intended to give companies a way around Apple’s new privacy tools.”

What a lovely idea. According to the Journal, Procter & Gamble “…has joined forces with dozens of Chinese trade groups and tech firms working with the state-backed China Advertising Association to develop the new technique.”

… This is 100% undiluted, artisanally curated, organically grown horseshit…

It’s not bad enough that these marketing creeps know everything about us, now we have the Chinese government — famous for their respect for individual rights — involved in developing adtech.

Of all the companies that talk out of both sides of their mouth, P&G is definitely a hall of fame candidate. A few years back, their chief brand officer, Marc Pritchard, made a name for himself by spouting off at an ANA conference, calling out the online ad industry for its creepiness and crookedness. Hey, Marc, does it get any creepier than working with Chinese government backed organizations to develop surveillance tools? In their mania for collecting data has Procter & Gamble lost their f***ing minds?

A P&G PR release said that its purpose in working with its Chinese partners on this new tracking technology was simply part of its commitment to “deliver useful content consumers want…”

This is 100% undiluted, artisanally curated, organically grown horseshit. The reason they are doing this is that research has indicated that as many as 85% of iPhone users will not opt-in to be tracked as IDFA goes away. The assertion that the scourge of relentless tracking results in “useful content consumers want” is beyond absurd.

Bob Hoffman is author of five Amazon #1 selling books about advertising. He also writes the almost-weekly Ad Contrarian Newsletter