25 January 2010

2 CPG companies, 3 approaches to social media

I was amused by these two stories that appeared today on AdAge.com:

Based on these headlines, which company do you think will have more social-media success?

Wait! Before you answer "P&G", consider that we don't know whether Procter also has a social-media attorney.

We do know, however, that Procter's GM of interactive spouted some words that in print resemble a skeptical anti-social-media rant*. Quoting from the AdAge.com article:

"What in heaven's name," he asked, "made you think you could monetize the real estate in which somebody is breaking up with their girlfriend?"

"Who said this is media?" he said. "Media is something you can buy and sell. Media contains inventory. Media contains blank spaces. Consumers weren't trying to generate media. They were trying to talk to somebody. So it just seems a bit arrogant. ... We hijack their own conversations, their own thoughts and feelings, and try to monetize it."


This is simply proof that we are all trying our best to figure out the landscape. Nobody has all the answers, not even a colossal CPG empire in Cincinnati.

* As opposed to an "anti-social, media rant."


  1. i don't think his rant was anti-social media. It was an anti-trend without concrete evidence rant. It was a backlash to this fevorish wave that advertisers have Facebook as now their newest and greatest place to market themselves. I believe its a rant against the hype machine and bandwagoning without concrete statistical results to back up this trend. Think about your personal preferences on Facebook. You really don't want to be spammed on Facebook or hijacked or advertised to. No one does.

  2. Dear Reader: You might be right, this P&G exec may have been railing against the fad of the moment. There have been many burstable bubbles of Internet marketing over the past 15 years. On the other hand, I am not sure we should limit the definition of media to inventories of blank spaces one can buy and sell. There is also earned media and, increasingly, self-generated media. Whether these should be commercialized will depend on the people who use them. Stay tuned.

  3. Just a quick follow up comment: You may want to read this article about "Friendsourcing" by Eric Swayne on AdAge.com.


  4. Paid media does work, and will work as long as you pump money into it. Once the budget runs dry, your traffic will too.

    Earned media (aka Social Media) will work as long as you have friends/fans/followers/evangelists, because it's based on the scale of network effects. Which one do you think has a greater return?

  5. Great point, Eric. Well before the web started, every single study asking consumers what motivates them to try a product or service comes back with the same answer: word of mouth or a friend's recommendation. This answer has not changed. Social media permits the word of mouth to happen in a new and very public way.