Thursday, January 11, 2007

P&G reaches out

P&G is entering social-networking arena with the launch of two websites aimed at creating online communities where the consumer-products giant can learn more about its customers.

One site will apparently be celebrity and fan driven and will be tied to P&G's decades-old People's Choice Awards. The other is Capessa, a women-oriented site produced by Procter & Gamble for the health section of Yahoo.

Capessa is designed to be a forum for women to discuss subjects such as parenting, pregnancy and weight loss. The People's Choice Community site formally kicked off this week, a day after CBS broadcast this year's People’s Choice awards.

The Wall Street Journal and others report that there will be no P&G ads on Capessa and the only mention of P&G on the site is a line at the bottom of web pages that identifies Capessa as being produced by a P&G company. Yahoo, which is promoting the site as a big feature of its health section, says it doesn't want to over-commercialize the site given the serious nature of subjects being discussed.

However, the new sites will be less about promoting specific brands and more about market research and both new sites will act as continuing focus-group-type environments where P&G will attempt to learn more about its target audience's likes and dislikes and what consumers in different stages of life care about.

In a separate move, P&G's Herbal Essences shampoo brand has now got a MySpace page that allows people to show off pictures of their hairstyles. What fun.

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