P&G Game Plays Well With Hispanic Teens

An online game promoting Procter & Gamble Co.'s Head & Shoulders anti-dandruff shampoo to Hispanic teens has recorded more than 50,000 visitor sessions since it went on leading Spanish-language Web sites in May.

Created by Makinita LLC, Miami, the effort continues the story line in P&G's Mission Refresh game, which was introduced a year ago to capture Hispanic teen users.

“We found that if you can educate them while they're young, it's a highly charged emotional issue being that teens have so many appearance issues,” said Jaime Vega, assistant brand manager at P&G's multicultural marketing division in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The game, PromParanoia, was put up May 1 on the gaming sections of Hispanic television network Univision's Web site and Spanish-language portals Migente.com and Yupi.com. Animated banners in teen-oriented areas on these sites drove traffic to the game.

While the game will run its course on those sites through mid-June, it will continue for a year on PromParanoia.com, a P&G dedicated site modeled on the previous missionrefresh.com initiative, albeit with more graphics and complexity.

Insignares said P&G found response to PromParanoia highly favorable, though she would not give the number of teens who have played the game.

“We have exceeded expectations and surpassed last year's Mission Refresh results to date,” she said. “PromParanoia has had 59 percent more visits than Mission Refresh in the first month.”

Patrolling Caspita (Dandruff) City, Capitan Cool, who was last in Mission Refresh, and his female counterpart, Super Silky, are alerted that Jorge, Gabriela and Miguel have dandruff. The teens desperately need Head & Shoulders to save their prom night. Players select Capitan Cool or Super Silky to fight a range of fungi, flakes and other obstacles to save the students.

“The game enables teens to manage a socially difficult situation like dandruff and become winners every time they play,” Makinita president Matt Rosenberg said.

The game has a top 10 page that lists the top scores on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Though feedback from players is welcome, P&G is not making any active attempt to capture e-mail addresses and will not market to any of those who register for the game.

“The player is given the option to enter his or her data,” said Felisa Insignares, public relations specialist at P&G's Cincinnati headquarters. “Since it is a competition, players more often share their information to keep track of their scores and compete against other players.”

PromParanoia introduced the Super Silky female character at the request of teen-age girls, who wanted somebody they could identify with.

“In a lot of the data that we found, we know that Hispanic teens and women tend to spend much more on cosmetics and skin-care products,” Insignares said.

Like many marketers, P&G hopes that once Hispanic teens sample Head & Shoulders, they will become loyal to the brand. Using a familiar vehicle like an online game is essential to this strategy.

“Hispanic teens are very into music,” Vega said. “They're very into images that are created for them, and we wanted to make sure to address their needs specifically and speak to them directly versus just doing a mass effort and targeting the general mass of teens.”

According to recent U.S. Census data, there are 4.1 million Hispanics ages 12 and 17. Thirty-two percent of U.S. Hispanic teens claim to have dandruff, Insignares said, and Head & Shoulders is the dominant brand among the males of that group.

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