One has enormous success selling ads and one has an enormous budget to buy ads, and together they're exploring better ways to reach consumers online.
One eye opener for those offering prevention messages - the eyeballs are spending more time on line:
Consumers ages 18 to 27 say they use the Internet nearly 13 hours a week, compared to viewing 10 hours of TV, according to market-data firm Forrester Research Inc. But currently, P&G -- so famously thorough at understanding consumers, it even tracks people's tooth-brushing strokes -- spends only a sliver of its ad budget online.
And there are significant differences between the media:
The rapid spread of high-speed Internet access "has been the biggest disruption to marketing," says Rob Norman, CEO of WPP Group's media-buying firm, GroupM Interaction Worldwide. A key factor, he argues: TV-watchers are passive viewers. But Internet-surfers are tougher to reach because they take a more active role in what they choose to view.
As the two companies started working together, the gulf between them quickly became apparent. In April, when actress Salma Hayek unveiled an ambitious promotion for P&G's Pampers brand, the Google team was stunned to learn that Pampers hadn't invited any "motherhood" bloggers -- women who run popular Web sites about child-rearing -- to attend the press conference.
"Where are the bloggers?" asked a Google staffer in disbelief, according one person present.
But the fundamental task common to both enterprises is surprisingly simple:
Google job-swappers have started adopting P&G's lingo. During a session on evaluating in-store displays, a P&G marketer described the company's standard method, known as "stop, hold, close": Product packaging first needs to "stop" a shopper, Mr. Lichtig said. "Hold" is a pause to read the label, and "close" is when a shopper puts the product in the cart.
Google's Ms. Chudy gasped. "This is just like our text ads," she said. The headline is the "stop," its description is the "hold" and the "close" is clicking through to the Web site.
"This is going to get so much easier, now that I'm learning their language," she said.
And that's the challenge for prevention marketing. Or phrased a bit differently, listen, hear and act.
We have a lot to learn about effective marketing from the likes of Google and Proctor & Gamble (whose marketing savvy includes not only the know how to market diapers, but razors too - BTW: why don't new parents leave the hospital with a baby bag that includes a disposable razor too), not to mention marketing icons like Seth Godin.