Dec 15, 2006

ASPCA Moves To Unmask Word of Moth Marketing

The national ASPCA announced it will embark on a campaign to expose the controversial practice of word of moth marketing.

"For corporations to exploit any wildlife for marketing purposes, let alone from the order lepidoptera, is baseless and wrong," said Calvin "Chuck" Dossant, a spokesperson from the nation's largest animal cruelty watchdog organization.

Marketers from Snickers to Nike have used moths as flying brand ambassadors in recent months for their ability to reach "unmarketable" consumers, like skateboarders and other outdoor enthusiasts. In a recent Snickers campaign, Brimstone moths bearing the candy's logo were secretly released during the NEMO Extreme Sports and Music Festival.

"The moths definitely connected with the crowd," said Janeene Cross, a festival organizer. "People were like, 'Check it out, Snickerflys.' I know they sold a lot of candy at the concession stands."

Calls for comment from Snickers and Impact BBDO, Snickers' agency, were not returned.

The ASPCA campaign follows on the heels of an effort by the Federal Trade Commission to eradicate word of mouth marketing, a different but related discipline.

Said Dossant: "The marketers of America need to realize that animals are not billboards, they are not 'marketing assets' to be exploited for profit."

Dec 9, 2006

P&G To Place Products In Its Own Products

Tiring of traditional product placement in reality shows, hit movies and teen novels, Procter & Gamble will place tubes of Crest toothpaste inside cans of Pringles and Pringles Fat Free potato crisps beginning in January.

"We feel this is the most engaging way to gain exposure for our stable of brands," said Jean Hsu, group promotions director. "It's more convenient and cost-effective than paying upwards of seven figures to integrate our products with, say, The Apprentice."

Added Hsu: "With Pringles, we own the medium. We can put whatever we want in the can."

Product-in-product placement (PIPP) is nothing new. The Cracker Jack brand pioneered the technique in the 1950s when it placed secret toy surprises in each box of the popcorn snack, although "that did not truly leverage the brand's equity," stated Roy McQueen, a Jupiter analyst. "The secret toy surprises didn't even carry a Cracker Jack logo. Most were completely off-brand, like a plastic sheep figurine or rub-off tatoo of a bulldog."

Hsu, who would not confirm the size of the Crest-Pringles deal, said it would not be the last for the consumer goods giant. She acknowledged P&G's Duracell unit is in talks with its Folgers division about placing PowerPix batteries inside bags of Gourmet Selections ground coffees.