P&G 'nets Hugo Wordslam site

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Web debut is for men's fragrance

After nine long months of labor, Procter & Gamble Co. has produced its first World Wide Web site from Grey Interactive.

But if you're looking for Ivory or Crest, this site's not for you. The product of the moment: the new Generation X men's fragrance Hugo by Hugo Boss. The Hugo Wordslam site is from P&G fragrance and fashion unit Giorgio Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Calif.

While word in the cyber community has been that P&G is unhappy with the pace at which Grey Interactive has been getting sites up, P&G insiders claim that's not true. Said one, "We're very happy with Grey," whose New York-based Grey Interactive was named P&G interactive agency of record last January.

In fact, the Hugo site had P&G Chairman John Pepper waxing Webbish as he described it at a P&G analysts meeting in Cincinnati last week. Billing Hugo as P&G's "first major appearance on the World Wide Web," Mr. Pepper called it "a virtual cafe featuring [an] online spoken word poetry contest, building on a hot trend among GenXers. Come visit. It's at Wordslam dot Hugo dot com."

Wordslam is a bow to Generation X's revival of the Beat Generation's celebration of the spoken word and will include lines written by a collection of artists and poets ranging from Robert Frost to Jenny Holzer and Spalding Gray.

The site plays off Hugo's ad slogan, "Don't imitate--innovate," created by Grey Advertising, New York. Internet surfers will also get to take a crack at the first international online Spoken-Word & Poetry Contest. The site also has some less artistic aspirations through features such as Links, which ties into related sites from magazines and retailers.

A Giorgio spokeswoman said the site, opened Oct. 23, "had 379,000 visits the first week we were up . . . It's entertaining, informational, has PR value and is another way to reach our customer, young men 18 to 28."

A P&G spokeswoman wouldn't comment on how the Hugo Wordslam site might reflect on the company's future interactive efforts.

Said Scott Sorokin, co-director at Grey Interactive, "Our mandate was to help Giorgio Beverly Hills make the site a thought-provoking, entertainment destination as well as a platform for product marketing. We believe that the results are unique on the Web."

Copyright Novmeber 1995 Crain Communications Inc.

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