|Started as a customer loyalty promotion, 'Home Made Simple" has grown into a major entertainment property for P&G.
P&G is licensing the Home Made Simple brand to the cable channel for a reality show, which each week features an "organizing maven," a master carpenter and a weekly "guest maven" who provide a series of relatively simple and attainable tips for domestic wellbeing to help women nominated by their friends.
As Maurice Coffey, P&G marketing director for Home Made Simple, describes it, the TV version blends the friend nomination aspects of TLC's "What Not to Wear" with the home problem-solution format of ABC's "Extreme Home Makeover" -- but without evoking so much pity for the beneficiaries.
The series starts June 4 with an initial run of 13 weeks on Sundays at 1 p.m.
The P&G home-care brands that Home Made Simple was built online to serve over the past six-plus years -- including Mr. Clean, Swiffer and Dawn -- will show up in product integrations, Mr. Coffey said. But like the e-mail newsletter and Web site, where he said about 80% of content is unbranded, the idea is to engage rather than sell to the consumer.
"'Home Made Simple' is not about the home-care brands, so that it can be about the home-care brands," he said. "A lot of the stuff out there I would call branded interruption and not really brand integration. This is about starting with the consumer and trying to put entertainment in front of her that she's looking for. TLC has got a pretty good history of not going overboard with product integration."
P&G already has a fairly long track record of branded-content collaborations with Discovery Networks. Swiffer has been affiliated with "Trading Spaces," which has featured the dust mops in post-redecorating cleanups. And Crest Whitestrips have been part of the beauty makeovers in TLC's "What Not to Wear."
In the case of "Home Made Simple," the product integrations should flow more naturally and more often in the middle of the show rather than the end, Mr. Coffey said. But not every show will have P&G product placements.
P&G will be the exclusive content partner and advertiser in home care, but other noncompeting marketers will also have brand integrations and advertise on the program, which is produced by Discovery Networks. Online travel service Orbitz and Maytag's Neptune are among other brands to appear in the series.
The show will direct consumers to the Web site, and vice versa. In fact, promotion via the 6 million-plus subscribers to the free Home Made Simple online newsletter, handled by Barefoot Advertising, Cincinnati, could be a major boost for the project.
TLC and P&G solicited all of the families featured in the show via the newsletter and Web site. Early signs of the Web to TV conversion are promising, he said. When TLC held tryouts in Baltimore, 300 people showed up, which is about 10 times what Discovery normally gets when it recruits in cities for reality shows.
Home Made Simple, which began offering music downloads via the Web site earlier this year, also will make scenes from the show available online.
Creative Artists Agency brokered the deal between P&G and TLC, with P&G Productions providing some early advice during the two-plus years the project has been in development.
"P&G has been in the entertainment business since 1933 with Oxydol's 'Ma Perkins' [radio soap opera]," a spokeswoman said, adding that its "Guiding Light" and "As the World Turns" TV soaps have been on air more than 117 years combined. "They'll survive and thrive and entertain millions of viewers day in and day out," she said.
The focus for "Home Made Simple" TV will be on helping viewers do attainable projects and tips, such as hanging shelves or organizing children's toys.
"One of the data points we've gotten from consumers is that 90% of them don't do any of the things they see on these [reality and how-to] shows themselves," he said. "Home Made Simple is pretty simple tips you can do immediately. It doesn't take a weekend or thousands of dollars."