With soap operas ending, P&G moves into digital branded content

Posted May 24, 2011 by Michael Krebs
Procter and Gamble used to be in the soap opera production business, having spawned 'Guiding Light' and 'As The World Turns,' but it is now turning its attention, and its considerable budgets, to digital branded content platforms.
AWNY breakfast conference on custom publishing and branded content
AWNY breakfast conference on custom publishing and branded content
A visit to the Procter and Gamble corporate website will immediately yield the perspective that drives the company culture: "Finding strength in purpose." The four cornerstones of this mission statement, as defined by P&G, are "consumer understanding, innovation, brand-building, go-to-market, and scale."
The company has long found those cornerstones in careful control of the environments in which their many brands appear. From an advertising point of view, they have sought and invested in sterile places devoid of controversy and unintended ugliness. For the most part, this pursuit would keep P&G away from news environments, as one never knows when something unappealing might happen.
P&G also produced two long-running television soap operas, "Guiding Light" and "As The World Turns," but as those series have come to an end, the company took a decidedly more robust digital turn, as Brand Channel reported on Monday. This digital branded content strategy, in partnership with NBCU since 2007, marked P&G's most significant entry into the digital custom publishing space.
The two companies collaborated to produce content hubs across three market segments: pet owners with Petside, mothers with DinnerTool and baby boomers with LifeGoesStrong.
"We saw that there were white spaces online where consumers weren't being served and after that we launched with NBC Digital. And we started looking at other places where we felt there wasn't a lot of great content or communities," Rich DelCore, P&G's director of global brand entertainment, told MediaPost.
The digital branded content experience allows P&G to engage with consumers through social channels and push-pull multi-platform interactions. A descriptive invitation on their PetSide channel speaks to the engagement opportunities for the audience: “Our resident bloggers have big personalities and are happy to interact, so check our Twitter and Facebook pages regularly to see what our dog trainer, Victoria Schade, our pet socialite, Charlotte Reed, and our animal advocate, Jo Singer, are up to. Or share your best bud’s photo on our Facebook page and see if he or she is our next weekly Cuddle Champion…Got a smart phone? Our mobile apps PetVet and Pet Places (coming soon!) let you take Petside wherever you go, even the dog park.”
However, the digital branded content strategy is built on the consultative nature of sharing expertise. P&G is able to enjoy a subtle trust factor as a publisher of quality informative content.
"We are basically enabling P&G to be in the media business," Devin Johnson, GM, Digital Works at NBCU, said, according to Brand Channel. "Instead of us going to a company and saying we have created a platform, and 'would you like to advertise on it,' we are saying let's create content together — a platform that walks a fine line between the consumer's interests and brand need; that's our secret sauce: a property for the brand and also a distinct value for consumers."