Consumer Packaged Goods marketers have a big challenge: how do you create engaging content to effectively support your digital marketing? The digital consumer isn’t passive; you need to provide them a quality reason to pay attention to you.
Rob Go summarized this challenge nicely in a post yesterday in which he predicted a massive shift in CPG ad $’s to the web:
Auto companies can get a lot of engagement in their ads because people love looking at pretty pictures of cars. But not a lot of people really want to watch a great online video about paper towels.
That’s why I found it so interesting to read in AdAge this week that some big CPG marketers are experimenting with the latest darling of the SXSW crowd—Foursquare. I haven’t spent a lot of time on Foursquare, but I’ve really enjoyed watching their growth and speculating about all of the advertising opportunities that evolve from their location-based mobile platform.
The Mayor of Pampers?
The AdAge piece, entitled “Would You Check in to Box of Tampax? For Charity?”, summarizes the efforts to P&G and Kraft to jump into this new location based world. Using an app from start up CauseWorld, these CPG heavy weights allow consumers to “check into” their actual products on the store shelves (scanning the bar code) to accumulate points that can be donated to charity.
Will this work? Are consumers willing to engage in this behavior? If CPG can make this work on a location based mobile platform like Foursquare, getting consumers to engage in more mainstream web formats like Facebook should be a cakewalk.
My opinion is that this kind of app will have an extremely small appeal, although I’d love to see it succeed.
Commerce is the Key to Engagement with CPG
I think charitable efforts have a lot of potential for digital CPG advertising, but the mainstream consumer isn’t going to engage with CPG brands online without some tie in to actual commerce.
Without the opportunity to buy or save money on my paper towels, I’m not going to pay any attention to them in the digital environment.
Want proof? Look at some of the data coming out of Facebook, which is clearly taking over the world. Following a brand on Twitter or Facebook will make you more likely to buy a product from that company, according to a recent study by market research firm Chadwik Martin Bailey (results here and here). But the study also revealed that the top reason people friend a brand on Facebook was to receive discounts and special promotions. Commerce is king.
Want more evidence of the important of commerce to digital advertising? Consider a recent experiment by P&G on Facebook. P&G ran a special promotion to its Facebook fans last month that allowed fans to buy a new Pampers Cruisers product before the product hit the store shelves. The promotion was a huge success, selling out the 1,000 packs it allotted for the effort in less than an hour (coverage here). I think there is amazing potential here.
I salute the creativity of P&G and Kraft in experimenting with Foursquare, but the real payoff involves tying digital marketing to some form of actual commerce.
Agree or disagree? I’d love to hear your thoughts.