Thursday, May 31, 2007

CPG Industry Needs New Engine
To Drive Demand & Awareness

By John Gaffney

It’s interesting to me just how “retro” the consumer packaged goods world has become. P&G has turned the clock back to focusing on product sampling for several personal care products. Pepsi has reverted to the old “Pepsi challenge” in its continuing bid to unseat Coke’s lead in the diet soda space.
Here’s the problem with these “new” directions. They’re old. Forget the fact that they ignore NextGen strategies that provide more specific targeting. They don’t consider a very simple understanding that there’s a world of difference between generating awareness and generating demand. And therein lies the challenge for consumer packaged goods companies. They’re still focused on generating awareness, when the situation calls for generating demand.
One of the more innovative campaigns I’ve seen over the past year came from Sprite, which used community-based engagement loyalty for its highly successful campaign in 2006 called The Refreshing Wall. According to its brief for the OMMA Awards, it aimed the five-month effort at recapturing a sliding share of the teenage market by engaging the demographic with a chance to create their own Sprite logos and their own online graffiti-style artwork. It became the most-trafficked area on MSN, with users engaging more time with The Refreshing Wall than any other MSN channel, including Hotmail. It’s 1 million plus community continues to use the site despite the end of the official media support of the program. Most interestingly, according to Sprite’s own terminology, The Refreshing Wall “established a new currency.” Instead of engagement, Sprite calls it “captivation metrics.”

Some of those metrics include:
· Average time spent in the application 6 minutes per user session;
· Each $1 in investment generated 4 minutes in user engagement;
· Lift in brand equity, as measured by Sprite: 14%.

Here’s what Sprite’s approach does. It reaches out to a new customer segment with a campaign that engages them. That engages leads to demand for new information, new access to experiences and then product demand. Media for CPG companies can, and must morph into a demand gen engine. And it doesn’t need to lose its tried and true awareness building tricks in the process.
For example, The California Milk Processor Board has taken “Got Milk?” into the points and information arena. It’s new 3D “Get The Glass” game allows users to attack “Fort Fridge” to get the earth’s last glass of milk. Along the way users are confronted with trivia questions about the benefits of milk and they suffer what the CMP Board believes to be the downside of milk deprivation (brittle bones etc.). Users earn points toward a chance at a $5,000 prize. More importantly the concept of demanding an experience goes along with demanding the product. “Millsberry” is another example of engaging kids in a brand experience. It is a virtual town created by General Mills in August 2004. It has shops, homes, special events, and a newspaper called the Millsberry Gazette, chat rooms and an arcade. Games and visits to nutritional information websites such as the National Institute of Health earn “Millsbucks.” They in turn can be used to purchase items from Millsberry’s downtown shops as well as allow members to purchase their own home in Millsberry.
Not a lot of customers are going to demand a home in Millsberry. But they might set up a new paradigm for demand of things that go beyond product. For CPG companies that might be a ticket out of commodity hell and a new ticket into a new worlds of marketing.

No comments: