P&G lets consumers act as media planners, sort of

Published on: 2015-02-05

As reported in Advertising Age:

The nation's largest advertiser is inviting consumers to weigh in on its controversial media decisions.

Last week, Procter & Gamble set up an option on its main consumer toll-free line in response to a drive from a coalition, dubbed Enough Is Enough, that was urging the company to stop sponsoring hip-hop programs on MTV and BET laced with profanity, liberal doses of the "N word," and scenes the group believes degrade and objectify women.

This week, P&G set up a second toll-free option asking callers to register support or criticism of the "story line" on "As the World Turns," from P&G Productions, which featured fairly passionate kisses between daytime TV's only gay couple.

Our take:

Whether they realize it or not, P&G is essentially activating an American Idol-esque opinion voting system that will encourage viewers to simplify their viewpoints into boolean "for" and "against" points.  While it's currently being used to diffuse tensions in very polarizing areas (the ads in question are surrounding a soap opera featuring a gay couple, and programs on BET that some have called misogynist) , there's no reason why, if successful, the campaign couldn't be extended to a wider array of ads and topics.

Granted, the system will only work when the topic in question is interesting and compelling enough to get a large number of people to call up and weigh in, but given the enormous audience that P&G ads reach every day, even a tiny fraction might be enough.

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