Cookies offer a sweet way for ladies to connect with friends

Pepperidge Farm, owned by the Campbell Soup Company, is offering women the chance to improve their social lives by "Connecting through Cookies."

In the news

Pepperidge Farm, owned by the Campbell Soup Company, is offering women the chance to improve their social lives by "Connecting through Cookies." Lifestyle expert Sally Horchow, coauthor of The Art of Friendship, is serving as a spokeswoman to further enhance the social networking effort.

The heart of the campaign is, where visitors can view tips and tools from Horchow on making and maintaining friendships. From video clips and photos of Horchow's encounters with different women, to Facts on Friendship survey results, viewers get advice on becoming better "connectors."

The program is supported by a national advertorial that ran in the November 2007 issues of Good Housekeeping, Redbook, and Country Living under the headline: "Friendship. Is yours an art form or a lost art?"

Why does it matter?

This campaign represents the growing number of marketers trying to leverage consumers' burgeoning interest in socially oriented sites. It also brings into focus the way communicators are using products to play a more important role in the lives of their consumers via the Internet.

David Almacy, VP of digital strategies at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, says it's a natural progression to seek a new audience online, primarily because it's where many people go for new information and to find others with shared interests.

By identifying and involving those people in an online community, brands can reach consumers in new ways.

"Brands can leverage those relationships by producing a quality product or service and gain fans of that product or service who will be surrogate spokespeople for you," he notes. "That is obviously taking the brand marketing approach into a new level and putting it into the hands of the consumer."

Five facts:

1"Connecting through Cookies" was budgeted at $2 million to $3 million, which included a PR initiative, a survey of US women on the topic of friendship, and print advertising.

2 According to the Pepperidge Farm survey, only 17% keep in touch with their friends by seeing them in person, as compared to the nearly 50% who use the phone as their main mode of communication.

3 Almost 50% of brand marketers will target social networking sites this year, a new report by JupiterResearch reveals, with 48% of brand marketers deploying marketing on social networking channels, compared to 38% last year.

4 According to research company eMarketer, ad spending on social Web sites is expected to total $1.2 billion this year, and climb to $1.9 billion in 2008.

5 Other marketers jumping into social media include Jockey, which came up with the site, and Dove, whose speaks about body image and self-esteem.

Irene Chang

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