Signs of Change: Procter & Gamble Abandon Soap Operas

Procter & Gamble, the reason why soap operas are called soap operas, has officially moved its advertising focus online. The death of soap operas happened in September, but it was earlier this month, when P&G announced its new social media focus, that the news really sunk in. As Joseph Jaffee said, "This is like Budweiser pulling out of the Super Bowl'; the company whose advertising and support defined the genre has moved on to greener pastures.

Nostalgia aside, this was clearly a smart business decision. Viewership has dropped substantially for daytime tv, and the remaining viewers present the joint challenges of increasing median age and skipping commercials via DVR.

This will not impact most construction product manufacturers directly - few in our industry advertise on tv - but it is a remarkable sign of the growing strength and popularity of digital marketing. In fact, this could be a big boost for companies already engaged in social media, as more viewers will start flooding into the space. Yes, this also means increased competition for their eyeballs, but most of that competition will be on the consumer side; a properly structured SEO campaign will help sort out architects looking for structural concrete from homeowners looking to redo their patio.

Also of interest, the article contained some of the results from the "Old Spice Man" commercials:

• Number of impressions (people who saw, read, or heard about commercials): 1.8 billion.
• Number of YouTube views for Old Spice and related videos: 140 million and counting.
• Increase in Twitter followers for Old Spice: 2,700 percent.
P&G also said Old Spice sales are growing at double digits, taking more of the market for body washes and deodorant. 

"It is such an effective advertising campaign that we are getting impressions that we did not pay for," said P&G CEO Bob McDonald. We've seen this effect in our work too; digital marketing, whether it's social media and viral or SEO and publicity, has incredible potential for reach, spread, and longevity.