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P&G Adds a New Marketing Wrinkle

Procter & Gamble Co., one of the few packaged goods manufacturers with an aggressive Internet strategy, has created a separate site for its new Downy Wrinkle Releaser to explain to consumers the benefits of the fabric spray.

The site, at www.spraytugsmooth.com, is interactive and a key part of a multimedia marketing effort for the product, which claims to eliminate the need for ironing.

“Clearly the challenge is to create awareness, so we're using interactive media to assist them both in terms of delivering specific demonstration information to the Web user and also offer some opportunities for diffusion,” said Mark Woolsey, vice president and director of account services at Bridge Integrated Communications, Cincinnati, which created the site.

The site is tied into magazine advertising, coupon efforts through newspapers and interactive programs. Television spots, however, do not reference the site. Demonstrating the benefits of a new concept is the goal of spraytugsmooth.com.

“We do mention that it's a casual look because we want consumers who've never experienced the product to know that it's not a starchy look,” said Kristin Schmidt, assistant brand manager for the Downy brand at P&G, Cincinnati.

The site also has fun elements. Games designed around the product will inject the entertainment element.

“Rip Van Wrinkle” stars a character of the same name who is always dozing off and crumpling his clothes. The only way to spray, tug and smooth Rip is a bottle of Downy Wrinkle Releaser.

“House of Wrinkles” is a game that leads the player on a room-by-room tour of a house. The goal is to find items in each room that could benefit from the Downy fabric spray.

“Primarily what we're trying to do with the games is reach an initial audience, perhaps a younger college-age type,” Woolsey said.

P&G's Schmidt agreed.

“One of the things we're trying to do is create an area where people can learn about a new-to-the-world product because this is something that hasn't been widely distributed ever before, so we need to come up with a way that consumers can really learn about the product itself,” she said.

Though the target for Downy Wrinkle Releaser is the general consumer, initial efforts will focus on college students.

In line with that strategy, P&G has organized a “Wrinkle Free Laundry Week” for live demos to take place at select college campuses nationwide. Students also can explain online their need in 50 words or less to win a free case of Downy Wrinkle Releaser.

Going beyond students and targeting a wider market, P&G has debuted a sweepstakes in conjunction with gym chain Bally Total Fitness. Consumers can win an annual membership to a Bally Total club and a case of Downy Wrinkle Releaser in exchange for their names, contact information and the e-mail addresses of both themselves and their friends.

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