P&G Digital Hack Night – Moving the Conversation

I could not make the event, but FM had two participants. Chas summed it up this way: "the format is like a reality TV show: A contest among groups of digital marketing experts, Apprentice-style, in an effort to tap social media tools to sell Tide t-shirts for charity." It…


I could not make the event, but FM had two participants. Chas summed it up this way: “the format is like a reality TV show: A contest among groups of digital marketing experts, Apprentice-style, in an effort to tap social media tools to sell Tide t-shirts for charity.”

It was a fun night, from what I’ve heard, and $100,000 was raised for charity, which is really cool.

But I really liked what Peter Kim said about how it was an important event not just for charity and team building, but also for P&G as a company, learning to become more social. Just like with Comcast, here’s another example of a massive company learning new tricks. From Peter’s post:

At the end of the evening, P&G’s CMO Marc Pritchard remarked that in the future, all employees should get involved in activating connections similar to what had just been witnessed.

The significance of that idea is staggeringly huge. This is a company with 138,000 employees starting to realize the value from having all of its constituents connected and activated. They’re also learning about new tools to change the process of engagement. Events like “Digital Night” help recalibrate the company’s mindset.

P&G is taking steps to make social business a reality.

Sure, it also meant a massive promotion for Tide. I don’t have any problem with that. I got shirts for all of FM’s staff. And it felt good to do it.

Author: John Battelle

A founder of NewCo (current CEO), sovrn (Chair), Federated Media, Web 2 Summit, The Industry Standard, Wired. Author, investor, board member (Acxiom, Sovrn, NewCo), bike rider, yoga practitioner.

6 thoughts on “P&G Digital Hack Night – Moving the Conversation”

  1. Tide? T-shirts? It’s a PROMOTION. To sell T-SHIRTS. For the company that SPONSORED your junket.

    Is it really so simple to be re-purposed into becoming an implement for corporate manipulation?

    Excitement without integrity is glamor.

  2. I liked the promotion, and yes, they are selling t-shirts, but they’re also doing it for a good cause, and it’s not like they’re holding a gun to anyone’s head and forcing them to buy one. They created a cool product, they turned it into a game and got some of the best players to play, and they got the press that an original idea like that deserves. Overall, I think it was a win for Tide.

  3. Mike Mongo–I work with Battelle at FM and was at the event last night. I can’t speak for every attendee, but P&G (makers of Tide) didn’t bribe me to Ohio with money, free plane tickets or hotel suites, so I don’t think “junket” is the right word. They are business partners & clients to FM (they buy advertising and sponsorship programs on some of the websites aligned with FM). We pay our own way to visit them and their agencies whenever there’s relevant business to talk about.

    Many smart businesses pull together their partners for learning sessions. P&G added a wrinkle to the formula — the learning session would benefit a charity that helps victims of natural disasters. As I understand it, Tide and P&G didn’t make a penny off t-shirt sales; 100% of profits went to charity.

    Did Tide benefit? You bet. Imagine, though, if every brand with a marketing budget promoted itself by funneling money to charitable causes. I say that would be cause for celebration.

  4. mudpies.
    making mudpies.
    there’s a lot of potential good here.
    but it got a screwed up by the side show antics and the semi-semi-murky-almost transparency.
    when you’re ready to go live and figure out how to be really pregnant-transparent and not confuse the fuck out of people, you’ll have something.
    until then. mudpies.

  5. Imagine if every employee was empowered to activate participation. Imagine the amplification effect. The interesting thing is companies wil need to once again recognize the power and importance of the employee. It’s always been a 3-legged stool balancing company priorities around customers, shareholders, and employees. Obviously, as of late, the shareholder leg has gotten far too long. In the Age of Transparency balancing all three legs will be critical.

  6. Trish–I think we’d find that a high percentage of t-shirt buyers are friends, relatives, co-workers or virtual friends of the t-shirt sellers. That’s not cynical, though, that’s sort of the idea. Friends (even virtual friends that you don’t know in person, but converse in Twitter or Facebook) are more likely to pay attention to each other than they are to pay attention to billboards alongside the freeway or TV commercials. (If the offer itself stinks, they pay attention and don’t take action; but paying attention is a necessary first step.) This is why Oprah is such a powerful media outlet for marketers. The show isn’t just “aggregating a demo,” it’s creating a virtual conversation among millions of viewers who feel they have something in common with Oprah and with their fellow viewers.

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