Pepperidge Farms The Cookie Trail Doesn't Lead To Social

11/26/2007

"Do you have to play games to make a relationship work?" - Cary, Sex In The City

Cookie_monster_game And if you do play games shouldn't you at least know the rules? Social media marketing is turning into the hottest, sexiest marketing game in town. Slap the "social media" label on your web or internet strategy and you're in the groove. Or not.   

The rules of social media include: honesty, transparency, authenticity and yes indeed girlfriend, add a big dose of passion about the topic. The center of social media, or the heart, is providing the opportunity to create dialog/conversations and share ideas online.  Without this type of functionality, at least in my book, no matter how clever the strategy, it is not social.   

Pepperidge Farms is the newest company that according to according to the mainstream media outlets and online pubs like C/Net, New York Times, Marketing Vox, Media Buyer and iMedia Connection has launched a social media strategy called Art of the cookie. But Pepperidge Farms - I can't find the social.

The articles quote Michael Simon, vice president and general manager at the Pepperidge Farm snacks division, "The goal is understanding your consumer, understanding what's important to them and how to connect to them in a relevant way." Mr. Simon seems to have great intentions - "We started with this notion of wanting to move our communication with our consumers from telling them about us to having a dialogue with them." But Pepperidge Farms - I can't find the social.

The Art of the cookie campaign is all about how women can can connect and reconnect with friends. The micro site includes videos and photos of the campaign spoke-person's trip cross country. There are lots of tips on how to renew friendships and some ideas that even include using Web 2.0 tools like web videos, photo-sharing, blogs, texting. But Pepperidge Farms - I can't find the social.

Jeff Jarvis has an excellent take on the absurdity of the campaign. While I agree with him for the most part, I think that if Pepperidge Farms had followed the Dove model and opened it up to the people who they spent so much time and money researching in the first place .. the women who told them that life hasFriends_hugging_fundraiser_blog become so hectic that spending time with friends over tea and cookies .. or appletinis and tapas (tho I do like tea and cookies and I bake awesome brownies too!) .. gets lost in day-to-day life .. it could have been a great way to build community and give back to their community too.

Instead of static pages of ideas from Pepperidge Farms about how to connect with friends Let's Get Social! Michael Simon if you're listening in on the conversation here's an early holiday gift of how to turn Pepperidge Farm's Art of the cookie .. Social!

  • Hear (podcast) the stories told by the women themselves not a company or a spokesperson.
  • Learn how mothers and daughters stay in touch during the teen years.
  • Find college roommates and celebrate those friendships at cookie parties. Perhaps a blog or vlog reality show of how several women try to find their friends from college, or high school or even kindergarten.
  • Create videos of the special traditions that help us stay connect.
  • Develop a Flickr or photo sharing page complete with tags.
  • Develop a widget that downloads songs that bring back memories of the way we were.
  • Launch a blog about GNO (girls night out) ideas.  
  • Create a wiki where any women can add her ideas.
  • Tap into women from the Wild Women Blogger W List.

Perhaps Pepperidge Farms develops a community voted a la Digg contest where the best ideas win GNO spa weekends or trips to a Tuscan cooking school to learn how to bake yummy cookies or a trip to London to have high tea and cookies. Add a vlog or even a text photo blog element and what a fun viral social time we'd have with you.  

Giving back to the community - Perhaps Pepperidge Farms adopts a women's shelter or inner city Girl Scout Troop. Perhaps a GNO is helping raise funds for the cause. Perhaps it turns into bigger way to stay connected. Perhaps the social in this social media marketing strategy goes further than tea and cookies to changing lives.  

What was your fun-est GNO? Mine was a weekend in New Orleans with Mary, Lori and Laurie complete with vampires, benoits and well .. what happens at a GNO stays in a GNO ;-) What was your best from the heart GNO? Mine was when Mary, Lori, Beth, Laurie and I adopted a family for XMAS and collected so many gifts they filled my entire car.

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Comments

Seems like either a complete failure to research or an old command and control ethos was at play... More and more efforts like this will launch in the ensuing months. And fail.

Posted by: Geoff Livingston on Nov 26, 2007 7:24:10 AM

Toby,

I hope Pepperidge Farms takes your advise. Good intentions can lead to good things, if we listen.

Posted by: Lewis Green on Nov 26, 2007 10:18:26 AM

Hi nice to visit your site.This site gave me the information about the Pepperidge Farms has launched a social media strategy called Art of the cookie.here is a site which can give you the information about cookies.
http://www.cookiesmadeeasy.com/

Posted by: brandy on Nov 26, 2007 11:11:30 PM

Jeff Jarvis does make a good point. There is a love affair with all things social media these days. But people do make emotional and social connections with products -- why not cookies? I think your ideas are an interesting way to strengthen those relationships. Of course the real question is whether it is appropriate to dip a Pepperidge Farms cookie in milk. :-)

Posted by: Dan Greenfield on Nov 27, 2007 8:43:00 AM

I'm not sure whether I'd want to build my life around a cookie site. Seems to me that such a site would be a poor substitute for getting out there in the world. Or just picking up the phone and saying HELLO to people.

I think we need some social reality to go along with all this social media.

Posted by: Martha Retallick on Nov 27, 2007 10:21:55 AM

I loved Martha's comment.

At any rate, you came up with more than a handful of ideas that would have made this effort more interesting.

I think we have a lack of creativity here coupled with a lack of knowledge.

Posted by: Kami Huyse on Nov 28, 2007 4:22:58 PM

You present some great ideas on how to make the campaign more interesting.

I am passionate about connecting with my friends. But I'm not sure that passion ties in directly with Peperidge Farm Cookies. I'm not sure any positive emotions I might gain from their social media would transfer to my feelings about PF.

If they were a cell phone provider, I could see it. If they were a flower company promoting recognizing the people in your life who you love, I could see it.

maybe it's just me, but I don't think of connecting when I think of PF cookies, I think of late night pms sessions hording Milanos while no-one was looking.

Posted by: Holly Buchanan on Dec 13, 2007 10:12:14 AM

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