P&G reaches out to women at work

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Procter & Gamble Co., which has pursued interactive media harder than just about any other major consumer advertiser, has taken an early lead with push technology, as well.

In August, P&G helped launch ParentTime at Work through PointCast, a push version of its ParentTime interactive joint venture with Time Warner Cable Programming.


P&G's interest in push media, like its interest in other interactive approaches, is experimental, but it offers a chance for P&G to capture an audience that has eluded it in recent years--women at work.

"We're trying to figure out what works and what doesn't, and this is another example," said a P&G spokeswoman.

"With PointCast being able to isolate specific information that the person surfing the Net wants to access and have delivered to them, that's huge for personalized, relevant information to that consumer."


P&G also has expressed early interest in other push ventures, including Microsoft's Active Channels and ad-supported Internet access, said one executive familiar with the company's plans. P&G would not comment on other push ventures.

A PointCast executive said Internet broadcast captured P&G's interest early on, noting that P&G and PointCast began talking soon after the startup launched in 1992. Talks about ParentTime at Work began even before the ParentTime Web site was launched in the fall of 1996.

P&G is interested in PointCast mainly because of its potential for reaching women who work outside the home and its advertising vehicle, which resembles the TV ads that have been a mainstay of P&G marketing for years, said Anna Zornosa, senior VP-advertising sales and affiliate development for PointCast.


In the past two decades, women have gone from one of the easiest-to-reach demographics for package-goods manufacturers because "their time was so available through television," to one of the hardest to reach, Ms. Zornosa said.

"We offer P&G access to women in a time period when [marketers] have not been able to get them."

So far, 90,000 viewers have signed on for ParentTime at Work in its first two months, even before the channel was made available to PointCast's entire viewer base. P&G has advertised Tide and Pampers on ParentTime at Work, the same brands advertised on the [ParentTime] Web site .

Other package-goods marketers are beginning to take interest, too. Until now, however, the push medium has been dominated by computer, financial services and auto advertisers because of its male-dominated demographics.

After PointCast research found a third of its viewers brush their teeth at work, Unilever's Mentadent brand recently tried a two-week test of a 30-second spot on PointCast's lifestyle and health channels.


The ad produced requests for 40,000 Mentadent samples for viewers and their friends and set a click-through record for a two-week PointCast ad.

The cost per click cost less than the cost of mailing the samples, Ms. Zornosa said.

"I expect more of our growth in the future to come from package goods, edibles, apparel and pharmaceuticals, and less from automotive, computer and financials," Ms. Zornosa said.

Copyright November 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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