NPR has a new interview up with executives from Procter & Gamble that pretty much re-summarizes what we already know by this point. P&G ditched the soap operas that had been helping them move detergent and other toiletries since Rosie was riveting for other marketing strategies, in this case, social media.
"Social media has become mass media, and for women especially," she said. "I think for all marketers, these one-way, 30-second (TV) spots are very expensive, and are less effective for the way that women make decisions."
The article goes on to cite the juggernaut success P&G's Old Spice brand has recorded since its "Smell Like a Man, Man" campaign, featuring Isaiah Mustafa, went viral. According to the piece, the campaign saw 1.8 billion impressions, many of which P&G didn't have to pay for, and over 140 million views on You Tube. This resulted in Old Spice doubling in sales in 2010.
Now you won't get me arguing against the merits of social media marketing, especially on a blog. It is the wave of the future, but did P&G really have to throw out the soap opera with the bathwater? The renewals of Days of Our Lives, The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful show there has to still be some money being made on daytime soaps, or the money grubbing suits who made those decisions to re-up would have told those serials to kick rocks.
If P&G is so gung ho to start spending a good chunk of their $9 billion advertising budget online (thank you for sponsoring my beloved Buppies!), why on Earth didn't they create web spinoffs for their soap operas? Millions of people were still watching Guiding Light and As The World Turns every day. No, that wasn't enough to keep them on the air, but it's certainly enough to go viral. Look at Luke and Noah. Clips of their romance have been viewed in the millions, and they were compiled by fanbois! If P&G had the sense, they'd reunite Van Hansis and Jake Silbermann for Luke and Noah: A Nuke Wedding and do a 13-episode webisoap sponsored by KY-Jelly and air it on Gay.com, After Elton and other sites.
If that ain't "family friendly" enough, why not a similar template for Holden and Lily? Keep that mean, old nasty Christopher Goutman away from sweetheart Martha Byrne, fly Jon Hensley back to Gotham for six weeks and film Holden and Lily: Return to Forever. Air it over six weeks, get the soap mags involved to promote it and (heaven forbid) the blogosphere and I guarantee you it would be a viral hit.
Hell, I wouldn't even care if Lily and Lucinda had to spend part of each eppy talking about what a godsend Massengil has been to their lives if it mean't getting to see our soaps continued in some form or fashion. Does P&G make Massengil? I forget. Anyway, I sure hope at some point P&G considers webisodic spinoffs of their soaps, not just because I'm a silly soap fan, but because I truly believe it would be good business. Thanks Tee Monique for the tip on Facebook!