From General Mills
That's right, according to The Wall Street Journal, Wal-Mart Stores
The problem, according to company executives, is that "traditional" programming has been edged out by an increasingly daring lineup of shows, many of which taint brand image. Quoted in WSJ, a P&G executive explained, "You have heard the saying 'You are judged by the company you keep.' Brands are judged by the company they keep." From where I sit, Wal-Mart and P&G excel as corporate brands when consumers view the companies as partners in their daily efforts to nurture and provide for their families. That's a tough message to put across when company ads are sandwiched between television sex and violence.
Moreover, while the Internet is a great platform for interactively connecting with shoppers, it may not be the best arena for building that all-important emotional bond between consumers and products. I'd argue that moms and dads often turn to the web to escape feelings of family responsibility -- or to intelligently (and unemotionally) research product price and functionality. All of which means that if P&G is to make purchasing an item such as Tide feel synonymous with good parenting and family values, it's got to touch consumers when they're vulnerable, i.e., during those wholesome TV moments.
That shouldn’t be a problem during "Secrets of the Mountain," the two-hour family-friendly flick scheduled to air on General Electric's
Wal-Mart and P&G aren’t alone, either. Dozens of big-time marketers have long shared their programming complaints. As for going Hollywood, other consumer companies are making the same move, on an even bigger scale. Toymaker Hasbro
With chastened consumers refusing to pay up for anything but the best deal, companies are relying on advertising to communicate the value proposition of both new and established products. Yet for large companies in crowded industries -- P&G, for instance -- smart ad spending might at most return business back to prerecession levels. Smaller niche companies making bolder moves, however, are likely to enjoy more incremental upside.
Shareholders in both camps should -- may I say it? -- stay tuned.
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