Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Butterball Message for Thanksgiving?

What better to contemplate on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving than a perfectly-roasted turkey? Last week Ad Age pointed out that Butterball had joined Web 2.0. I considered that a charming thought and investigated further.
As I suggested on the webcast yesterday, I don’t understand all the angst about cooking a turkey. I think it’s one of the easier things to do in the kitchen and I’ve never quite understood the popularity of the help line. According to Ad Age, it started in 1981 with 11,000 calls. They now have a (seasonal, I presume) staff of 50 and field 100,000 calls. The Turkey Talk Line® is, indeed, a great marketing device but 1) it’s expensive and 2) it’s not entirely convenient for today’s on-the-go consumer. According to the senior v-p of marketing at Butterball:

"When the Turkey Talk-Line started 28 years ago, the phone was the best way to give people the important turkey-cooking information they needed," Mr. Klump said. "This year, Butterball continues to evolve and reach new cooks with initiatives like turkey text messages, a new mobile website and web chats, so that we can provide Butterball's expert holiday advice the way modern cooks want it, anytime and anywhere."

Indeed they can! The mobile alerts and website are a nice touch. They also have some other interesting social media initiatives. They are doing a live chat on their site today and another on the Gather.com site tomorrow.

I complained—rightly—yesterday about the lack of a live link to the informational page about the web chat from the home page. This morning a link to the information page has gone up. It’s about an hour until time for the chat to start, and the promised link at the bottom of the information page is not yet there. I’m used to B2B events where they ask you to sign up in advance. Looking around just a bit, I don’t see any other timed chats like this, so I don’t know whether this just-in-time provision of information is typical for B2C live chats. It seems to me to place a big burden on the person who wants to attend to remember it and to sign in during the chat. I checked the Gather site too and same thing. You have to remember to attend the live chat. Wouldn’t an autoreminder make sense for these?

They also mention blogging, so I looked. What they’ve done here is also interesting. They profile some of their “star talkers.” What you find on this page is that they’ve recruited three of what I call the “mommy bloggers.” All of them are active on multiple blogs and/or sites. That’s reaching out to bloggers in a very active way. I can’t find a Butterball blog, per se, so they seem to be counting on these established bloggers. A Technorati search shows considerable activity in recent days for “Butterball turkey.”

So gentle readers, it appears that Thanksgiving preparations are well underway. If you are traveling, do so safely! Wherever you are, do enjoy your Thanksgiving with family and friends, as I’ll be doing. See you next week!

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