The PG Version of “Sex in the City”

Stuart Elliott of The New York Times looks at how Pepperidge Farm is migrating from the typical consumer packaged goods site to a community site called Art of the Cookie, which purports to offer women social connections through cookies.

“We started with this notion of wanting to move our communication with our consumers from telling them about us to having a dialogue with them,” said Michael Simon, vice president and general manager at the Pepperidge Farm snacks division in Norwalk, Conn.
To make possible that shift “to two-way marketing from one-way marketing,” Mr. Simon said, the company conducted ethnographic research by “going into our consumers’ homes, sitting down with them, talking to them about how they use our products.”
During those conversations, “this notion of connection came up again and again,” he added, and how “hectic lifestyles, life in general, has gotten in the way” of women forging and strengthening ties with friends — over, say, a pot of tea and a plate of cookies.

It sounds silly on paper (or screen) but it’s less silly than another TV campaign that does nothing to motivate engagement with the brand.
While Elliott chose to focus on the social media aspects of this campaign, there is another equally important aspect. Pepperidge Farm is investing in content. Sally Horchow, the co-author with Roger Horchow of The Art of Friendship: 70 Simple Rules for Making Meaningful Connections, has been hired to serve as the spokeswoman for the campaign and is prominently featured on the site.
Content in concert with social media connectivity is a strong play, and one I believe we’re going to see a lot more of in coming years.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.