It was reported today that after decades of sponsorship and production funding of soap operas, Procter & Gamble (P&G) has made a significant leap; many will say lead, into culture defining social media.
This kind of leadership by P&G is not new. Looking at its legacy, P&G has throughout its history made positive contributions to the culture that surrounds us. Nowadays, it’s helping shape the space where you’ll find millions and millions of people who use social media. Like you and me, my four sisters, my mother and her friends. And my kids and some of their classmates. And the teachers. And the principal. Oh and my old principal who FBooked me recently. And many others.
P&G take social media very seriously. This year, our digital work for Pampers – a collaboration between our amazing clients at Pampers, our partners and StrawberryFrog – was singled out as the best use of Facebook by a major consumer brand.
If you think about it, this leap into social media makes a lot of sense. Just look around you! Mothers these days aren’t sitting at home watching daytime soap operas, they’re spending their time chatting online or updating their profiles on their cellphones instead. In fact, a recent survey by Forrester found that Americans now spend as many hours online as they do watching TV.
This is a perfect example for the textbooks: adapt and thrive by changing the way to market products.
P&G – the world’s biggest advertiser – will of course still continue to produce commercials such as this year’s breakout Old Spice campaign.
Social media is such an effective way to communicate with your target audience, and is an effective platform to amplify a TV commercial because it allows a two-way conversation and ensures a ripple effect – if you like it, pass it on… aka the ‘movement effect’.
P&G have already reaped the benefits of social media. They’ve out-manoeuvred Unilever’s Axe which feels awfully old and made Old Spice feel refreshingly new for a whole new generation. ‘Smell Like a Man’ on YouTube has to date notched up 140 million hits along with other Old Spice associated clips.
So whilst we can’t see into the future, one thing’s for certain in 2011 – more companies will be following P&G and turning their focus away from traditional marketing and will be networking, social-style.