P&G's Vocalpoint - Using Moms for W.O.M.

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG136
Case Length : 19 Pages
Period : 2001-2006
Organization : Procter & Gamble Company
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : USA
Industry : FMCG

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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...Or a Case of Deceptive Marketing?

The use of the P&G's WOM method of marketing had its share of controversy in the US. In October 2005, Commercial Alert (CA), a non-profit public watchdog group filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding such forms of marketing. In its complaint, Gary Ruskin (Ruskin), the executive director at CA sought action against Tremor as P&G's policy did not require that connectors disclose their affiliation with the marketer. Critics argued that people who were exposed to such marketing were not aware that they were being marketed to and thus such form of marketing should come under the purview of "deceptive marketing."

"It's deceptive because people think they're talking to a regular person when they're really talking to a shill. That's the whole point, that shills have to disclose that they're shills," said Ruskin. (Refer to Exhibit IX for a summary of FTC policy statement on deception)...

Future Outlook

According to some analysts, with the formation of Vocalpoint in addition to Tremor, P&G had succeeded in its role as a trusted partner of the consumer and at the same time offering an instant WOM network to external clients. According to Justin Kirby of Digital Media Communications, P&G with its Vocalpoint and Tremors programs was far ahead of the curve than most corporations as far as WOM marketing was concerned.

Some analysts pointed out that, moms were the most influential segment among buyers and targeting them through networks such as Vocalpoint made good business sense. The popularity of the Internet had resulted in the increasing number of online social networks for moms. "From a business standpoint, it's a huge opportunity...


Exhibit I: Five Year Financial Summary of P&G
Exhibit II: Logo of P&G
Exhibit III: Logo of Tremor
Exhibit IV: Logo of Vocalpoint
Exhibit V: The Vocalpoint Website
Exhibit VI: Vocalpoint - Some Screening Questions
Exhibit VII: Vocalpoint Website Promoting 'What about Brian'
Exhibit VIII: Vocalpoint FAQs
Exhibit IX: Summary of FTC Policy Statement on Deception


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