Ted McConnell, Procter & Gamble’s head of marketing, has been famous with his exclamation “What in heaven’s name made you think you could monetise the real estate in which somebody is breaking up with their girlfriend?”
Was it because Coke is the #1 brand in the world? I don’t think so, because P&G is also one of the top brands. The difference in brand awareness between Coke and P&G products should not account for the large gap between the two pages on Facebook.
Was it because a Honda product was more expensive than a P&G product? I don’t think so. A can of Coke and a bottle of shampoo would differ much.
So what accounts for the difference?
Because it came down to the core value of Facebook: relationships first, and ego second.
People go on Facebook to gain benefits from relationships, and respectively reinforce their connections.
A can Coke is not simply a piece of beverage. The can of Coke is enjoyed by people when they hang out with friends, have lunch at McDonald’s. What are these activities but reinforcing relationships.
There is a direct, strong connection their in their behavior.
Meanwhile, a bottle of shampoo might be a little private. People have no need to show off their brands of their convenient goods because, sad but true, it doesn’t make them feel ‘cool’ or accepted.
People show off things to impress their peers on Facebook, that’s why they do with Coke, more than with convenient goods.
A Honda feeds a consumer’s ego. Mostly everywhere, a vehicle is only less important than an apartment in people’s purchasing decision. It is common knowledge that people don’t only buy a car/motorbike, they buy the brand and the culture associated with it. They want something that makes them ‘cool’. A Honda does.
Again, a P&G product, while makes people good, clean, safe, and healthy, has little say in a consumer’s inter-personal interactions.
Sadly, it all comes to the game of perception.
How does it relate to Facebook? Well, as a person shows off his Honda, he feels that his ego is fed. This does not normally occur with showing off something in his private spaces.
There’s nothing and no-one to blame here. And I am proud to say I’m a big fan of P&G. But, as a matter of fact, every real estate has its own norms.
I would still love P&G’s conventional messages, so please don’t let one campaign hinders any further campaign. You’re cool no matter what, in very different spaces.