CYBERCRITIQUE: J&J's textbook approach taps young audience

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MARKETER: Johnson & Johnson


CRITIQUE: Every now and then you remember that for all the money; all the hype; all the conferences, consultants and dot-com capital; the Internet is still young. Yet we find ourselves looking at some Internet marketing as well-tread ground. This Johnson & Johnson promotion feels like a lesson plan more than a media buy.

Now that books have been written on the subject, we can officially deem this approach textbook.

Introduction: J&J has a completely non-interactive product, the adolescent skincare line Clean & Clear. Yet its target is pretty Net-savvy. J&J wants to do some brand building online, which for some traditional marketers is still a novel idea.

Chapter one: Where to start?

J&J went straight to some of the most-done ideas, including a form to help customers find the product that best fits them, Internet postcards and the "Prom Pamper & Primp Sweepstakes."

Chapter two: J&J has a Web site; how does it get people to it?

This chapter would tell J&J to advertise, which it's doing, and perhaps use some beyond-the-banner technology, such as Unicast's Superstitials, which it's doing. These ads should be placed somewhere the target demographic will see them: in this case, teen site Bolt.

Chapter three: Try something new.

There's still room for innovation in a young medium. The postcards feature audio, even in the Superstitial ads. This is still cool and draws attention well. Teens who click on the ad or visit the site can send postcards with messages in their own voices, also cool. But not everyone can record sounds on a computer (yet), so J&J is using the kludge of having kids call a toll-free number to record their voice, which is then delivered with the postcard using a Java-based technology from AudioBase.

Epilogue: Just because the models feel familiar doesn't mean they're bad or they won't work. Consider: How many times have we seen the sports car hugging the curves on the cliff-side road?

WHO CREATED IT: Digitas, Boston

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