Thursday, December 14, 2006

:: adgruntie :: ThermaCare and Men With Cramps

+ P&G is getting a lot coverage this morning for their viral efforts, especially for the campaign for ThermaCare which used and MacInnes And Porritt as microsites to promote the product to women to treat menstrual cramps. Apparently the idea was based on women who wished men knew what it was like to go through the pain of montly cramps.
Executives at Procter and its agency, Publicis Worldwide in New York, part of the Publicis Groupe, acknowledged the challenges, but said the risks were worth it.

"You can imagine what it was like to take this to management," said Tom O’Brien, associate marketing director for personal health care at Procter in Cincinnati.

But "we simply didn't have enough women who knew about our menstrual product, and had to find a new way to connect with them," Mr. O’Brien said. "And given how tough a subject it is, we had to find the right way to show women we empathize with them."

In research conducted before the campaign was created, women said again and again "there was one group of consumers they would like to see understand more deeply what it meant to have menstrual pain — men," Mr. O'Brien said.

From that grew the idea that a humorous approach putting the shoe on the other foot, so to speak, would resonate with the female target audience, get them talking about ThermaCare and encourage them to forward elements of the campaign to friends and relatives.

Those steps, known on Madison Avenue as buzz marketing or word-of-mouth marketing, are prized because data indicate that personal recommendations can be more effective than traditional advertising.

"Putting yourself out there is always scary," said David Corr, an executive creative director at Publicis, who worked on the campaign, "but we had an idea people would like it.

"We felt that 'man bites dog' aspect would engage the consumer," Mr. Corr said, referring to the notion that men could suffer from menstrual cramps, "because we do a lot of focus groups, and women always talk about men's inability to deal with pain."

The campaign began in late September and new elements were introduced in phases, weeks apart, to "build a little mystery in Internet-land, and get people talking about whether men could have cramps," said Meredith Yacso, ThermaCare brand manager at Procter.
Until today I had not heard about this campaign at all. Guess I'm not their demo. And did it really get people talking about whether men could have cramps or if men could handle them if they had to deal with them? Big difference.

I really cannot judge this campaign yet, as the stupid computer I am on today has no sound, I'd rather not say good or not until I can watch the videos and hear what is being said. It's hard not to have a first impression of this as somewhat negative and I could get all feminist saying things like if men actually had to deal with cramps, there would be more medications out there for dealing with them, but that may not be true and without being able to view the spots in their entirety, I will not and cannot pass judgement. I will say I'd be curious to find out of the creatives on this project were men or women. I hate to be gender whatever but creating an institute for men with cramps feels very male to me, and perhaps that is what turns me off from it just from reading about it. There is also a fine line between being funny about this topic and talking down to those who have to deal with it every 28 to 31 days.

Then again, I could be totally wrong and it could just be my massive hangover from the holiday party I attended last night.

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