Consumer products manufacturer Procter & Gamble Co. is said to be ending its 77-year run as a prominent sponsor and producer of soap operas — a genre the company helped create — in favor of producing more campaigns using social media.
The switch from soap operas to social media is one motivated by its success with previous social media campaigns — such as its Old Spice Guy YouTube promotion — and a desire to capitalize on the more readily available opportunities of reaching women through digital media.
Digital media has “become very integrated with how we operate, it’s become part of the way we do marketing,” marketing chief Marc Pritchard told the Associated Press. “It’s kind of the oldest form of marketing — word of mouth — with the newest form of technology.”
The company is an important advertiser that spends nearly $9 billion per year to advertise its products. The company is finding social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to be more effective channels for reaching women and has spent much of 2010 experimenting with campaigns in these arenas.
“We continue to advertise during daytime TV including soap operas as a way to reach consumers,” a company spokesperson tells Mashable. “In our marketing approach we build our brands based on the appropriate integrated holistic marketing campaign that reaches the consumer when and where they are receptive. As consumers spend more time online and via social media networks, our brands are naturally adding these options to their marketing plans as it helps them engage and serve consumers.”
The P&G business dates back to the mid 1800s when it began as a soap and candle-making company. The company started sponsoring radio programs — which became known as soap operas — in the 1930s when radio was emerging a popular medium. The brand continued to produce soap operas in the television era, including the now-defunct As the World Turns.