Irwin Lee’s presentation at the IGD Convention this week was hugely entertaining, with its references to popular culture (House of Cards), and one-liners (“promotions win quarters, innovation wins decades”) delivering the P&G message with aplomb. But the vision was also rather disturbing, I thought, suggesting that opportunities for brands in an omni-channel world should be seized by embracing the real time values and techniques of the newsroom.
“Tide appeared out of nowhere, like that other imposter, Clark Kent, to seize the spotlight and save the day”
Adam Leyland, Editor
The example he showed came from the US, where Tide washing detergent took on the role of a latter-day Clark Kent - appearing out of nowhere to seize the spotlight and save the day. But presumably P&G brands can be applied to events over here too: perhaps Oil of Olay can iron out some wrinkles in the valuation of Royal Mail and if the row between the Mail and Ed Miliband leaves a nasty taste in the mouth (see below), there’s always Oral B. Anyway, I’m all for P&G responding faster but, based on The Grocer’s enquiries, it’s going to be a while before it emulates Peston, Paxman, Kleinman et al.
A no less colourful narrative ran through the show-stealing session of the afternoon, with Mark Price revealing the cultural influences on his hugely successful reinvention of Waitrose, including opera director Dr Jonathan Miller, Hollywood scriptwriter JJ Abrams, and Costas Markides from the London Business School. Just as revealing was his response to a question about technology. “If you run away with the mechanisation of it all, where’s the magic?” he asked.
It’s just as well his strategy was not technology based because, once again, Waitrose isn’t doing too great on the “mechanisation” side. This week, an upgrade took its infamously buggy website down for the whole of Monday and while the online experience is expected to improve, there’s still no transactional app to show after Waitrose promised us, in January 2012, it would launch one by the end of last year. As a result, in our first-ever Mobile 33 mystery shop, Waitrose scored 3/25. If you want “magic” technology, you’ll have to go to Ocado.