Thursday, July 13, 2006

The rules have definitely changed.

All we now ask is that you remember that we exist. Forget about any value proposition. Just know that we are here if you feel like trying us, OK?

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July 10, 2006

You're Supposed to Add Water to Your Folgers?

By STUART ELLIOTT

For decades, the Procter & Gamble Company was perhaps the most staid and traditional national advertiser, rarely approving advertising that deviated from tried-and-true formulas. Now, as Procter begins exploring the wild world of so-called viral or word-of-mouth marketing, seeking to reach younger consumers who live online, eyebrows are being raised all over cyberspace.

For the last two months, Procter has been distributing a viral video clip for Folgers coffee, which can be watched on Web sites like adcritic.com, boardsmag.com, buzzpatrol.com and youtube.com. The clip presents a daffily skewed take on conventional coffee commercials, featuring a horde of impossibly cheerful people rampaging through a town.

The mob, dressed in yellow, sings a bizarre jingle titled "Happy Morning!" that includes lyrics like "You can sleep when you are dead." The youth-oriented effort has its own Web site (toleratemornings.com), where the clip resides with wake-up calls, mock e-mail messages and a make-believe "boss tracker."

It all comes across like a pointed send-up of the mainstream campaign for Folgers, which uses a jingle best known by this line: "The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup." But that is not the goal, said Marnie Kain Cacossa, a senior vice president and global equity director for Folgers at Saatchi & Saatchi in New York, the agency owned by the Publicis Groupe that has long created Folgers ads.

"The yellow people are intended to personify the morning itself," Ms. Kain Cacossa said, adding: "For this consumer, who is often up late into the night, morning comes too soon. Folgers is an ally, which helps you get through that time that's unquestionably the most challenging of your day."

Tami Yamashita, associate marketing director for Folgers at Procter in Cincinnati, said the feedback to the campaign "has been quite positive." There have been no complaints about the cheeky jingle or offbeat look of the clip, said Ms. Yamashita, who described it as "a playful and engaging approach."

What could be next? Perhaps a viral video clip for Crest toothpaste that revives the classic Mad magazine spoof of the famous "Look ma, no cavities!" campaign: A young punk mouthing the slogan grins widely, revealing that all his teeth have been knocked out. STUART ELLIOTT

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

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