LAS VEGAS—Having long attended CES in the partner mode, Procter & Gamble chose this year to be an exhibitor at what Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard dubs the “consumer experience show.” It’s where the company is showcasing some of the technologically advanced products that have emerged from the approximately 130 internal “seed-stage startups” that the 181-year-old marketing giant has developed over the past few years.
“What we want to do is use technology to be able to make everyday life just a little bit better with our everyday household and personal care products,” Pritchard says in this interview with Beet.TV at the annual CES event.
“We studied Silicon Valley because what we knew we needed to do is we needed to move faster. We knew technology was disrupting everything,” he says. “That has spawned this portfolio of seed-stage experiments that are now starting to get into the marketplace.”
Among the innovations P&G has on display in Las Vegas is a Gillette razor blade that heats up in about a second, a smart Oral B toothbrush that visually guides one through optimal teeth cleaning and the Opté Precision Skincare system, as Advertising Age reports. Opté uses a digital camera to help determine the right amount of makeup to apply, which is about 5% “of the normal foundation,” Pritchard notes. “So your skin looks natural without all that makeup.”
P&G has access to some 275,000 startups, according to Pritchard, although it doesn’t work with all of them. The 130 startups are under the aegis of P&G Ventures.
At the retail level, P&G is showcasing the future of beauty retailing in the form of the SK-II Future X Smart Store, which launched in Tokyo in May 2018 and then in Shanghai and Singapore. It’s built around the concept of merging the physical and digital retail environment, beginning with a face scan in a booth that produces five key metrics for specific skin-care treatment, as CNET writes.
The overarching goal is to provide “irresistible superiority” over competitors.
With Olay Skin Advisors, users take a selfie and then technology “diagnoses your skin’s age versus your actual age, which is a frightening experience by the way,” says Pritchard.
He hopes P&G is setting examples for other marketers looking to operate as though they were startups as opposed to big, established legacy companies. At CES, he participated in a panel discussion with P&G Chief Research, Development and Innovation Officer Katy Fish, with whom Pritchard is “joined at the hip. It’s not a silo anymore between R&D and marketing. It is an integrated teamwork to create the experiences, and that’s what I suggest other people do.”
This video is part of Beet.TV coverage of CES 2019. The series is sponsored by NBCUniversal. For more coverage, please visit this page.