We have to set standards of ethical use of machine learning: Marc Pritchard

“What if brand could be force for good and a force for growth?”, this was Marc Pritchard’s, Chief Brand Officer, Procter & Gamble, interesting proposition while speaking at the ongoing IAA World Congress in Kochi. Pritchard emphasised on living the brand’s purpose and not just talk about it. While speaking on ‘Leading Disruption to Drive Growth’, he stressed on the need of brands to align themselves with a purpose. 

Pritchard covered three major problems faced in the business diaspora – Gender Equality, Sustainability and Technology. 

He pointed out that even today, the gender equality gap is more pronounced for women of colour, the LGBT category and people with disabilities. In the advertisement industry, 29 per cent of women are still inaccurately or negatively portrayed. He further added, “People expect more from brands. They want the brand to take a stand on social issues. 9 out of 10 consumers want brands to live with their values, they want brands to take stand.” 

In sustainability, Pritchard pointed out, there is a difference between what people say and do. 67 per cent of the population talks about sustainability, but only 30 per cent of them actually act on it. Sustainable goals are equally good for the growth of the brands. “Advertising affects our language. What if brands improve society by promoting gender equality? 29 per cent of the time brand campaigns are still portraying women inaccurately or negatively. We have to eliminate these stereotypes by changing attitudes, which, in turn, will drive growth,” Pritchard noted. 

He questioned what if brand could help the environment by driving sustainable behaviour and what if brands could make products that were sensitive to these issues. He spoke about how P&G is doing its bit by using technology is work on a product that can eliminate the need of water for cleaning purposes. 

“I urge everyone to reduce renew and recycle water, energy and waste. It will be nice if all brands can come together. My call of action is for all brands to join hands to achieve this,” he emphasised. 

Pritchard also noted how technology and digital advertising have changed the face of advertising. He pointed out, “E-commerce is growing, new brands are bypassing media networks. The pervasive data analytics and tech are changing everything. Things like blockchain, AR, VR and AI are affecting all aspects of daily life.” 

Adding further, he said, “I would like to pivot and use tech to go beyond and reinvent and see if brands can use cutting edge technology to improve everyday life.” At the same time, he cautioned that marketers needed to be careful about unbridling growth of technology on security and privacy. “We cannot let this happen, we have to get ahead of next gen tech and hence, we should unite as an industry and take action for tech for good. We have to set standards of ethical use of machine learning and my call of action is to put standard and policies in place so that tech is used for good,” Pritchard urged. 

According to him, if all these three are done well and together, collectively the industry could have a powerful impact. “This will require for all the brands to step up and become a force for good,” he concluded.


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