P&G'S HOME MADE SIMPLE TO OFFER SONG DOWNLOADS

Explores Digital Media as Tool for Broadening Brand

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CINCINNATI (AdAge.com) -- Procter & Gamble Co.’s 5-year-old Home Made Simple online relationship-marketing program is going the Starbucks route -- selling music, that is, not coffee -- as it tries to evolve into a broader lifestyle brand.
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In a joint venture with PassAlong Networks, Home Made Simple is offering its 6 million-plus opt-in e-mail subscribers chances to either listen to or download songs for 99 cents. The idea, at least for P&G, isn't to make money, but to add a new dimension to what was primarily an e-mail newsletter program heavy on promotional offers primarily for the home-care brands it supports.

Time-consuming hobby
“What I hope is that I don’t lose money in this,” said Maurice Coffey, global associate marketing director for P&G home care, whose duties include the Febreze and Cascade brand as well as what he describes as an increasingly time-consuming hobby overseeing Home Made Simple.

He compares Home Made Simple offering music downloads to Starbucks selling music CDs. “You can buy a CD at Starbucks that kind of captures the experience of having coffee or going there, but you don’t go to Starbucks to buy music,” he said. “That’s the same mind-set we have on Home Made Simple.”

Mr. Coffey also sees music downloading as a start toward understanding how digital media can work for the program and as a form of product integration with entertainment content.

Understanding the technology
“What I really want to explore is ... once our consumer is used to that type of interaction with Home Made Simple, are whether there other places where we can take her, whether it’s converting the articles [in Home Made Simple’s monthly online newsletters] themselves into something that can be downloaded or leveraging mobile technology, such as her cellphone,” he said. “We could go there now, because others are, but our consumers aren’t there yet, I don’t think.”

Each of five articles in monthly online newsletters starting this month include a "Julie's Jukebox" section with five songs selected by PassAlong to "match the tonality of the content," Mr. Coffey said. It's a fairly eclectic mix. A "Party Prep Mix" linked to a current article about entertaining includes songs by Black Eyed Peas, Lionel Ritchie, Prince, U2 and country artist Tracy Boyd. Visitors can listen for free or purchase each song 99 cents or the five-song pack for $4.95 from PassAlong using Paypal or credit cards.

PassAlong also has matched downloadable music selections to five years' worth of archived articles from the program.

Music turned up in P&G research as an important means for Home Made Simpler users to relax, Mr. Coffey said. But while most subscribers, mainly moms, have experience buying MP3 players for their children or husbands, they’re not downloading music for themselves, he said. So another aspect of venture is to create a way for them to get started.

An 'experience brand'
“My goal for Home Made Simple is to take it from the popular newsletter it was two years ago and really expand it to an experience brand,” he said. According to people familiar with the matter, P&G has been developing a pilot Home Made Simple TV show and been in talks with Discovery Networks about airing it. Mr. Coffey declined to comment but said magazines, TV and in-store are other platforms where research has shown Home Made Simple could expand.

Broadly, by the end of P&G’s fiscal year that ends in June 2007, Mr. Coffey’s goal is to have 10 million subscribers for Home Made Simple. Independent Barefoot Advertising, Cincinnati, handles the site development, content and marketing.

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