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Google Hires P&G’s Digital Marketing Head To Attract Brand Ads To YouTube

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Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is trying to get brand advertisers to spend more on YouTube’s “masthead” ad units and the company has tapped Procter & Gamble’s digital marketing head Lucas Watson to help manage that effort. Watson, the man behind last year’s Old Spice viral hit, will take on the role of VP-sales and marketing for YouTube and video, AdAge reports.

Interestingly, P&G had traded staffers at one point three years ago as the packaged goods giant sought to improve its understanding of digital.In turn, Google was hoping to gain some marketing knowledge to round out its engineering know-how as well.

Watson was supposed to move to Panama to handle P&G’s Latin American efforts. (His wife still works at P&G). According to AdAge, which cited unidentified sources, Google’s offer was too good for him to turn down. He started in the digital marketing department in 2008. P&G has more than tripled the amount of online ad spending to $169 million last year, according to Kantar Media. Still, only 5 percent of P&G’s marketing dollars are spent on web advertising.

Google has been trying to get blue chip marketers to advertise more heavily on YouTube. At least in the short term, it’s unlikely to pry any more from P&G.

NYT: It’s hard to appeal to advertisers if the ad format is rejected by viewers. YouTube’s standard pre-roll ads — along with roll-overs — can often fit that bill. But the video site has a new solution dubbed “First Watch,” where an advertiser can buy a pre-roll spot on most people’s first view of a YouTube video each day. YouTube claims it’s gotten high-clickthrough rates on the tests so far, which are being done only on partner sites, like The Onion’s channel.