CPGmatters: P&G, Walmart Reach Out to Family Shoppers with Integrated Co-Marketing Campaign

Apr 27, 2011

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is
a summary of a current article from the monthly e-zine, CPGmatters.

Procter & Gamble
and Walmart last year began co-developing original family-friendly programming
with "Family Movie Nights." In mid-April, the two extended
that partnership with plans to air five more P&G-produced original movies
for TV broadcast in 2011. They also hinted at producing a TV-series pilot based
on one of the films in coming months.

presentation — including the latest, Truth Be Told, which aired on
Fox on Saturday night, April 16 — packages a family-friendly movie with
advertising clusters that feature P&G brands and Walmart, individually,
as well as in integrated messages.

Company executives told CPGmatters that Family
Movie Nights have been surprisingly effective in encouraging purchase. Walmart’s
broader campaign, Family Moments, included selling the movies on DVDs in-store
and helping parents to create family-oriented game nights.

Ben Simon, director
of marketing for Walmart’s Family Moments programs,
noted that the company’s research showed moms wanted more family programming.
Moreover, he said, Walmart "realized that a lot of dollars we put into
advertising were helping to fund and create shows that moms were having issues

Typically, the two companies are the sole advertisers around the
broadcast, although they’ve let a few others in. And while some of the
early movies took advantage of the obvious opportunities for product placement,
has scaled that back quite a bit lately in the interests of making the stories
themselves more credible to viewers. The movies have fared well enough ratings-wise – in
the top three in their time slots, even on weekend nights.

During the Truth
Be Told broadcast, the first clutter of ads opened with a device that would
recur throughout the broadcast to draw the viewing family unit to an advertising-relevant
issue: a "Family Night Faceoff" quiz.
First question: "At what age do babies truly first smile?" After
offering multiple-choice answers, the spot promised to provide the answer later.

the screen segued into an ad for Pampers, featuring inspiring shots of babies
and parents. The next spot showed a checkout conveyor at a Walmart with a pie
followed by a package of Pampers Sensitive wipes and Pampers Cruisers. Immediately
thereafter, a spot ran for Bounty, then one for Pringles.

Finally, back to the
quiz about babies smiling; answer: "5 to 8 weeks
old." Immediately
following was another highly-integrated advertising message, urging viewers
to "use
Pampers Sensitive wipes and Pampers Cruisers and buy them together at the Walmart
everyday low price" of $25 for Cruisers and $1.97 for wipes.

So it went
all evening long through the airing of Truth Be Told, the latest example of
a marketing package that P&G and Walmart have found works for
them — and
believe may work for other brands and companies.

"Part of what we’re doing," Mr. Simon said, "is trying
to become a catalyst for more of this type of programming" for other
advertisers, and networks. "We hope we’ll start to see a real renaissance
across all of prime-time, when there really should be a lot of co-viewing for
the entire family."

Discussion Questions: What do you think of marketing partnerships involving original TV programming between retailers, brands and networks? Do you expect to see more such partnerships in the future?

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11 Comments on "CPGmatters: P&G, Walmart Reach Out to Family Shoppers with Integrated Co-Marketing Campaign"

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Ryan Mathews
10 years 18 days ago

Gosh…and here I thought soap operas were dying!

Seriously, if it works I guess it’s fine. There clearly is a niche market out there for “family friendly” programming and if Walmart and P&G can leverage it, why shouldn’t they?

On the other hand, it is probably a limited market and one not everyone can play in.

I shudder to think what television will look like if this approach catches on.

Can you imagine “The Axe Hour” for example–sixty minutes of barely clad bimbos falling at the feet of over-cologned teenage boys?

Or, how about combining existing programming like “Dirty Jobs” with OxyClean for an hour of programming centering around getting one’s clothes as dirty–and then as clean again–as possible?

There are probably endless variations on the theme first played by P&G and Walmart, and that shouldn’t make any of us anxious to ever turn on a television again.

Max Goldberg
10 years 18 days ago

These marketing partnerships make sense. If done well, they benefit the manufacturer and retailer, and are entertaining to consumers. Being expensive, only large manufacturers and retailers will be able to produce programming and pay to put it on-air. I’m sure P&G and Walmart tracked the results of this experiment, and if it drove sales, expect to see more.

Dan Berthiaume
Dan Berthiaume
10 years 18 days ago

There is no reason a partnership like this wouldn’t work, as long as the brands involved ensure the programming will reach their desired audience and fits their message. As P&G and Walmart both sell family goods and strive for a “family friendly” image, Family Movie Night seems like a good idea. Companies should also look into partnering on brand extensions into other areas of entertainment such as online, mobile, etc.

Charles P. Walsh
Charles P. Walsh
10 years 18 days ago

I believe that Ryan can expect a call from Walmart’s Marketing team; what a great line up of Co Branding Programming!

As has been mentioned, not a new idea, in fact somewhat dusty, and somewhat surprising that the shows ratings/viewership was as high as indicated. It looks like Walmart and P&G identified an underplayed genre on television (Family programming) which could explain some of their success. If in fact this is the reason for their success then it isn’t likely that the overall market for this kind of marketing is scalable.

Lisa Bradner
Lisa Bradner
10 years 18 days ago

As Ryan points out, P&G has been in the content business for a long time. Lots of brands jumped into webisodes as a way to deliver branded content but this play puts both P&G and Walmart back in a mass market place. Owning “family” makes tremendous sense for both P&G and Walmart. Hopefully P&G cut a heck of a trade deal for investing in all the content development so they see the brand benefit for them, not just overall category lift for Walmart. I like the concept a lot; now I have to tune in as I’m curious to see whether there’s any kind of call to action, social media tie-ins or anything else that extends the life of the program.

James Tenser
10 years 18 days ago

Like Ryan, my first thought is that this is a redeployment of the marketing investment previously devoted to daytime TV dramas. P&G famously invented the soap opera concept in the days of network radio. Now we are hearing of the format’s demise (or at least its contraction).

Co-marketing is a term we don’t hear used very often these days, since the dialog has tended to center on “shopper marketing.” Looking at this family movie concept, we may tend to conclude that co-marketing is an activity that requires scale, so that only very large brands and retailers may pursue it with any success.

Of course, Hallmark Hall of Fame set the precedent for sponsored television drama, and there have been a handful of other TV series created around the needs of an individual sponsor (think, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom).

At the moment’ Walmart is a much bigger brand on its own than either of those two. Teaming up with P&G makes for a formidable marketing entity. Let’s hope the content they put forth has some artistic merit.

Cathy Hotka
10 years 18 days ago

Given the dearth of TV programming you’d want your 8-year-old to watch, you’ve got to applaud P&G and Walmart for recognizing a great opportunity. They reinforce their brands by creating a vital presence on relevant programming, just like beer brands advertising during the Super Bowl, or Victoria’s Secret advertising during Sex and the City. Hope it works for them!

Warren Thayer
10 years 18 days ago

Sounds to me like not much more than a tweak of what’s been happening for a long time. But this thread has gotten me interested enough to catch the next of these shows. I no longer give serious thought to what “the masses” want on TV today; it’s too damned depressing.

Craig Sundstrom
10 years 18 days ago

Moments like this always bring out the conflict in me between applauding what’s “good” for the retailer (i.e. “it works”) vs. what might be good for society as a whole; something about this leaves me cold: it seems to cross the line between promotion and indoctrination…an (admittedly) ambiguous but important distinction that allows me to shrug my shoulders at a soap opera, but frown on this particular endeavor.

Gene Detroyer
10 years 18 days ago

I don’t know the demographics of these two companies, but I would guess that it is precisely the same. In which case, this venture makes ultimate sense from an investment and connection point of view.

Odonna Mathews
Odonna Mathews
10 years 14 days ago

Seems like a win/win to me for Walmart and manufacturers.


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