Clorox Co. Chief Marketing Officer Stacey Grier can’t predict whether a recession is coming, but she knows a presidential election is afoot, and that has her getting ready for a change in tone for advertising.
“From a creative standpoint, we’re going to have to be particularly sensitive to emotion,” Grier told Ad Age on the sidelines of the Association of National Advertisers Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando this month. “It is a raw, emotional time for people. And as we lean more into emotion as advertisers, we have to take more responsibility to do that carefully. I think we’re going to want to look at what unites people, the very basic human emotions that bring people together, at a time when people might be pulled apart.”
Grier noted off camera that the election also will reshape the media market. Even if most TV media around the race gets bought in spot markets targeting battleground states, she expects the growing focus by candidates on digital and social media will drive up costs there, which will force Clorox brands to adapt.
As for that recession, Grier says she has no idea what will happen, but feels Clorox is prepared regardless. “The bifurcation of income in this country is a real issue,” she says. “And we’ve tried really hard to serve consumers at all tiers.” Clorox brands are in about 90 percent of U.S. homes and tend to be in staple categories people keep buying in good times or bad, she says.
She came away from this year’s AMA having noted a lot of stories about “how people are humanizing brands” but also how people are “diving into the future and really testing and learning in new ways.”
The veteran of DDB, San Francisco, can recall times when her shop and Omnicom siblings handled almost all Clorox work. But she says things have changed for good on that front. “We believe the best agencies understand that they have to be in an ecosystem,” Grier says. “And when they bring great ideas to the table, those ideas get to be shared.”