Kimberly-Clark: Retire the Old Brand-Advertising Model

Geoffrey Precourt

"I'm not suggesting that traditional advertising is dead," Clive Sirkin, general manager/global integrated marketing at Kimberly-Clark Corp., told a morning audience at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2010 Agency/Client Forum.

"But, from our point of view, the constant pressure to drive return on investment means that this kind of advertising - in its classic sense - is not getting us there."

Sirkin's formal job description includes accountability for "designing and employing a global integrated-marketing process that brings together the company's people, resources, capabilities, and tools to bear on commercializing its brands within one integrated process. His understanding of the agency dynamic is well grounded: He spent 16 years at Leo Burnett Worldwide, where he last served as group managing director.
"Fundamentally", he explained, "brand advertising communicates brand positioning over the long haul. But the equity in the long haul and connecting back to ROI is tenuous at best.