A year ago, Kimberly-Clark launched Parentstages.com, a Web site that mixes child-rearing editorial content with product hype in a magazine-like presentation that itself serves banner and pop-under ads at users.
That site has now been made a pillar of Yahoo!'s new section of informatin aimed at parents. Parentstages, which promotes Kimberly-Clark's Huggies, Pull-Ups, GoodNites and Little Swimmers infant-care brands, also offers an e-mail newsletter program the provides a compendium of editorial content from other publishers such as Better Homes and Gardens, iVillage, Ladies' Home Journal, GeoParent and Parenting.com.
A spokeswoman for Kimberly-Clark said most third-party content providers had no problem with the Yahoo! affiliation and some even see it as a benefit. But she said some are restricted from having their material linked to the Yahoo! site because of copyright issues.
Meanwhile, also on Tuesday, AOL touted the results of a new survey by its own research company as proof that online advertising on AOL reaches more mothers than previously expected. The company said its "Wired Moms" poll of 8,000 women online showed that mothers now spend more time online than their children and use much of that access time
Among the marketers who are moving aggressively to exploit this trend is Unilever, which uses online techniques to push its home, personal care and food brands. The company has been conducting online marketing programs on AOL, Microsoft Corp.'s MSN and Yahoo!
"From a Unilever strategy perspective, online allows us to examine how Unilever brands make our most valuable consumers lives easier by allowing them to save time," said Edward Kim, interactive media manager for Unilever.
"All of our brands are looking at the data and evaluating how online can be incorporated into their overall communications planning," Mr. Kim said. Unilever's Ragu is now in discussions with AOL Time Warner about marketing programs targeted to mothers.
Consumer package goods marketers are also beginning to target Internet-based promotions by local market
General Mills' Betty Crocker brands including Hamburger Helper, Green Giant and Bisquick hope to help women with meal planning and recipe solutions. The marketer said it sees mothers going online between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., either at work or from home, to get ideas for quick meals. When General Mills first approached Internet marketing, it tested every brand in the company, said Brad Smith, manager of Internet branding and advertising at General Mills.
More Internet use planned
"As time has gone on, we are using the Internet for many more of the traditional marketing activities -- direct marketing, e-mail campaigns, promotional marketing, some couponing through e-mail," Mr. Smith said.
General Mills sponsors the "What's for Dinner?" area on AOL's food channel, where mothers will find meals to prepare in 30 minutes or less and recipes and tips built around its brands. Meal plans change three times weekly. The company also sponsors the Betty Crocker Birthdays area, which includes party ideas. The Cheerios brand sponsors a literacy campaign and offers a feature for moms to trade book reviews.
"A couple of years ago it was all about click-throughs and banners, then impressions, then brand awareness. The next step in this whole evolution is to connect the Internet much more effectively to the overall media mix," Mr. Smith said.