P&G breaks new ground. For those of you that missed the article in the New York Times yesterday…go and read it and take a look at their Men With Cramps site (www.menwithcramps.com) before reading the rest of this.

The good news is that this is a really big deal for all of us in the advertising industry. Why?The fact that P&G, a fairly conservative company, would even elect to put something online as irreverent as this, and for something that is as close to a drug as P&G gets, this is great news. Georgia Pacific did something similar with the Brawny Academy for Brawny towels and have enjoyed millions of viewings at no media cost to them as a result. The same also goes for Snickers and its InstantDef site along with a few others. But this, people, is P&G!

The P&G site goes a step farther creatively even if it does gratuitously jump on the current Borat craze with its main character. What is so successful about it is that it seeks to entertain and have fun with the subject matter more than it does to try to sell. It brings value first, and hence builds better relationships as a result, something SmashTube has been preaching about for some time.

Basically, P&G tries to draw attention to the problem of monthly female cramps and thus their product ThermaCare. A touchy subject for sure, and a fantastic effort at consumer value via irreverent entertainment. Now that P&G is on board, hopefully other brands will step up and take some ‘risks’ rather than continuing to bore their consumers to death.

The only criticism I have is that it is almost too good and may ultimately not get the final brand message across. After speaking to a couple of dozen people about the site I was amazed at how many men and women missed the point and thought that this was actually for a real male syndrome that may resemble monthly female cramps. Make no mistake, this is for a female issue and it tries to draw attention to it by making a comparison and creating empathy via a fictitious male syndrome. Clear now?

If that is the case, creativity may have overshadowed the product itself and it’s a fine balance. But overall, a valiant effort by a big player that most creative folk shied away from working with in the old agency days.

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