You may have recently received a pint-sized magazine called “Rouge” in your mailbox. The artfully designed glossy magazine is a marketing tool produced by Procter & Gamble to advertise its beauty products. It's disguised as a beauty and fashion periodical you might pick up at your local book stand. I don't think any of us are fooled - nor do I think P & G thought we would be.
After all, we're a society hyper-aware of product placements in movies, the cost of running an advertisement during the Super Bowl, and that items placed at eye-level on shelves at the market are the most expensive (you knew that, right?)
Here's what I wonder: does P & G see a spike in sales for items highlighted in Rouge? Are they increasing customer loyalty by providing beauty information (while heavily promoting its own products)? Are the coupons they provide in the magazine being used at drugstores around the country?
Or is Rouge lining your recycle bin, unread and unused? And if that's the case, what could the editors of Rouge have done to make you want to read this magazine ... maybe even look forward to seeing it in your mailbox? Fewer product mentions? More content? Coupons for free samples?
Therein lies the difference between effective marketing and a waste of money - keep the focus on what your customer wants and needs before what you want to say.
For the record, I think the P & G mag looks lovely.
But after a quick glance ... well, let's just say my recycling bin's a little heavier today.
What about you?