Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mass Media Master Experiments with New Media

An alert student pointed out the new P&G foray into mobile “advertainment.” It shouldn’t be a huge surprise. They’ve been producing soap operas since the early days of radio. They continue to produce television soaps—the Guiding Light since 1937 and As the World Turns since 1956.

So they have plenty of experience. The current venture is a series of 3-minute videos features Ashley trying to make her way in the big city. It’s an interesting attempt to reach younger viewers. If the reactions of some of my students and comments I saw on other blogs are a good indication, they need to add more “entertainment” to the “adv.” But they deserve congratulations for making a start.

If you’re like me and have no idea how to get this content on your mobile phone, watch the version that’s posted on the Tide website and see what you think.

Watch the ad here.

Remember, this is not video; the mobile networks won’t support long video clips yet. But someday we’ll have broadband mobile and mobile video will be in business. Marketing Charts reports a 34% increase in viewing of mobile video between January and August of this year. It’s still just 3.7% of US mobile subscribers, but their numbers are growing.

Will P&G be in a better position to take advantage of mobile video when its time really comes? Undoubtedly they will even if the current content seems lame! It’s actually not their first experiment. Looking around, I find that they tried something similar with Herbal Essence shampoo last year. Apparently that was terminated when their mobile video supplier went bust under the weight of all the pornography on the site.

There is suggestion of another mobile experiment using British mobile services supplier Flytxt. The SMS sweepstakes promotion called Irresistibility IQ Test for Crest and its associated website are still available. Note that Miss Irrestible has a MySpace page! Especially take a look at the questions; are they appealing to the SMS user? A lot of people use text messaging, but the profile is undoubtedly skewed to young to middle-aged adults. Are they looking for something more engaging?

I’ve frequently pointed out that this is a time for marketing experiments. If you are especially interested in mobile, it’s a time for following developments in Europe, Japan and the Pacific Rim, all of which are far ahead of the US in developing broadband mobile applications.

Can your firm do better? Should it be trying?
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