Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Crest Weekly Seeks Bloggers

In late August I noticed an article in Ad Age about a new P&G product—Crest Weekly Clean Intensive Cleaning Paste—that is being introduced with little television advertising. I’ve pointed out before that, especially for one of the huge mass media advertisers, P&G really gets the Internet, so I thought I’d keep an eye on what happened. There’s an interview today in iMediaConnection with Ted McConnell, the company’s interactive innovation director, that briefly mentions the program. It’s worth reading for its reflections on the role of interactive in today’s media mix; it reminded me that I was going to watch this program, especially the outreach to bloggers.

In the August 21 Ad Age article, P&G spokeswoman Allison Yang said that TV for this product launch would consist mainly of 5-second tags on other Crest ads. That’s clearly reminder advertising, not Awareness > Information in the old advertising hierarchy. So what are they doing and why? According to Yang:

The product "is not necessarily intuitive," making TV ads relatively less effective at explaining Weekly Clean, she said. . .

"What we've seen with research with consumers is that once they've seen it, they tell everybody," Ms. Yang said, another reason for the emphasis on buzz marketing vs. conventional media.

"The feeling you get is so unique, and women especially love it," she said. "A lot of times you come out with a new toothpaste flavor, and it's not something people talk about."

It appears that their “research” is also not traditional. It seems to have made heavy use of P&G’s VocalPoint Community. Call it a community, call it a consumer panel--my research made it clear that they’ve been working on this resource since at least 2005. Community building is important, but it’s no silver bullet!

The product does not appear to actually have been launched yet. The material safety data sheet is up, but that’s all I can find on the Crest page. Bloggers are busy though; this chart is for the last month. I just searched ‘crest weekly,’ so I got some garbage, but I doubt many people are going to use that whole long product name. Go do a search for yourself, especially if you aren’t familiar with blog search. I got some interesting hits. The jet-set beauty blogger is just the kind of review every product would like to get, but it’s her content, not P&G’s. I found Deal Seeking Mom even more interesting—maybe just for the sheer volume of activity on this blog—and she appears to own three blogs. And has 5 children—I’m overwhelmed!

This is another marketing program worth watching. I’ll try to update soon. In the meantime, if you see anything, please share it with me. I’m sure P&G has good monitoring systems, but don’t underestimate the effort required to keep track of Internet buzz.

A quote from Ted McConnell in the iMediaConnection interview struck me:

"I'm driven by the idea that, somehow, the $700 billion a year that humans spend[s] on advertising could create a lot of good and achieve its business goals if advertisers focus harder on crafting value rather than messages."

Well put. The value starts with a good product. If it’s good and potential consumers will like it, there’s no reason for not putting it out there and letting customers become brand evangelists to help spread the word. We know “real people” are more believable than marketing messages. Is there any reason—short of a mediocre/bad product—not to encourage them to have their say?

No comments: