AdWeek‘s news that General Mills has been recruiting hundreds of mostly-mom bloggers on its new blog network, called MyBlogSpark.com, is further evidence that CPG companies realize that mass marketing to families through TV and print is no longer enough. Even top CPG brands need to build relationships with their customers and get a sense of what they want and need when it comes their brands — in General Mills’ case, a vast portfolio of everything from food and beverage, beauty, health and home products.
On the other hand, their effort appears not to be a pure two-way marketing play: Apparently, bloggers are told that if they aren’t going to post a positive review they should contact the General Mills team first. Plus, the bloggers are given free samples of products to review and to run giveaways for their blogging audience.
Clearly, these blogs aren’t going to be able to stand up to much editorial integrity — so I’m not sure how much consumers will trust them and use them for really successful WOM. Certainly General Mills is right on the button in terms of marketing straight to moms, but I wonder whether these blogs will smell bad to some shopping families.