March 11, 2009
P&G's digital summit socially adept
By David Holthaus
Executives from the evolving world of social networks had a meeting of the minds with Procter &
Gamble executives Wednesday evening, as the 172-year-old Cincinnati-based giant held a four-hour,
reality-show style exercise to help it figure out how it can best use rapidly growing online destinations
such as Facebook and MySpace to target consumers.
With a potential audience of more than 300 million people and still growing quickly, social networking
sites are seen as the newest frontier in advertising.
About 40 executives from major social networking companies in Silicon Valley and elsewhere were
invited to P&G’s downtown headquarters to meet with about a hundred P&G marketers to help them
unlock the potential of these online sites to reach consumers.
P&G set up an exercise creating four teams whose goal was to see who could sell the most Tide
T-shirts in four hours, starting at 5 p.m., with the money going to charity, using only the Web and a
$1,000 budget. With team members hunched over laptops in four conference rooms, they used
Twitter, Facebook, Google and YouTube to appeal to potential T-shirt buyers.
The group used their professional and personal Facebook accounts and also their Twitter accounts
among many social media tools. To follow the Twitter effort you can http://www.hashtags.org
/tag/pgdigital">link here.. The group also launched www.tide2.com"> www.tide2.com as part of the
Two hours into the exercise, they had sold about 600 T-shirts at $20 a pop.
“We need to become skilled and effective at social communication,” said Lucas Watson, who
organized the event as one of P&G’s digital team leaders.
Notably absent from the evening was anyone from Twitter, the explosively growing site where users
can update what they are doing, in real time, in short takes.
“They’re growing so fast they haven’t had time to think about the commercial aspects of their
company,” Watson said.
But Twitter was one of the main metho