BeingGirl

BeingGirl is a "kid-friendly"[2] web site targeted at adolescent girls[3][4] created in 2000 by consumer goods company Procter & Gamble (P&G).[5]

BeingGirl.com
Type of site
Inbound marketing, Self care
OwnerProcter & Gamble
Websitebeinggirl.comRobert L. Dilenschneider (February 17, 2010). The AMA Handbook of Public Relations. AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-8144-1525-2. Retrieved January 24, 2013.</ref>
CommercialYes
RegistrationOptional
LaunchedJuly 2000 (2000-07)[1]
Current statusOffline

It provides information and advice. It is also a marketing tool.

History

The site was created in 2000,[6] with P&G including content provided by experts.[7] Its development was led by the company's Tampax brand[8][9] and feminine care group.[10] Forums were later added, in order to build interest. This enables girls to discuss things with each other, facilitating more subtle and effective marketing by the company.[7] Company representatives "play an active role" in this user-generated content.[11]

As of 2006, the website was available in 25 countries.[12] Its content editor in 2005 was author Marcia Byalick.[13]

Features

The site provides information and expert advice on topical self care issues such as menstruation, eating disorders, acne and dating,[14] by taking a "big-sister approach".[15] Features such as self-discovery quizzes are also included.[16] It also advertises some of the company's products[6][15] and has offered free samples from Always and Tampax.[17] The information is provided using "cool teenage-girl vocabulary".[12]

In addition to offering advice, the site gathers information from questions asked anonymously by visitors. This is used for inbound internet marketing of its products, being judged by co-author of social technologies book Groundswell, Josh Bernoff, as being four times as cost-effective as advertising.[18][8] The site facilitates data collection and market testing.[19][20] Sociologist Adam Arvidsson, writing in 2006, analysed the site's premise as being that "engagement in community-like interaction will generate emotional and experiential ties" in consumers. They will consequently relate positively to the brand, which will raise the brand's equity.[16]

Marketing agreements

The authors and publishers of 2006 novel Cathy's Book agreed with P&G to include references to the CoverGirl makeup line in exchange for promoting the book on BeingGirl.[3][21][22] No monetary payment was involved.[23] The references were deleted in the novel's paperback edition.[21] Also in 2006, Sony BMG partnered with P&G to feature its artists on the site.[24] David G. Knox, a teenage market specialist in P&G's beauty division said that they approached Sony in order for teens to associate their brands with stars such as singer-songwriter Teddy Geiger.[24]

Reception

It's a safe place where they can go for information about changes they are experiencing but are too embarrassed to discuss.

Velvet Gogol Bennett, P&G's North America feminine care external relations manager (January 2011)[25]

The Taiwan site attracted 6000 registered members in the three months since launch in 2002.[26] As of 2010, it was receiving in excess of 2 million hits worldwide per month.[27] Its "successful engagement of teen girls" has been largely attributed to the company "stay[ing] in the background".[28] Its Indian site was launched in 2006, which Nikhil Pahwa on the contentsutra blog observed to "lack the freedom of a social networking space", such as Hindustan Unilever's Sunsilk Gang of Girls.[29] Writing in 2006, Sheth and Sisodia noted that the open discussion (in real life) by teenage girls of feminine hygiene products may be difficult in some countries.[12]

In 2011, the charity Mothers' Union criticised the site for being "clearly a marketing tool" and Rebecca Morgan of the London Feminist Network linked references to hair removal and erotic underwear with the sexualisation of childhood.[30] Research fellow at the University of York, Dr Merran Toerien, criticised the site's attitude in advertising to such a young age group.[30]

Some reviewers evaluated the health content as being "useful and well presented", although concern was expressed about the number of product mentions.[8] Some of the weight-loss tips were seen by some as "enabling eating-disorder behavior".[8]

A P&G spokeswoman said that the site's "broader personal wellbeing educational scheme was strongly supported by schools".[30]

References

  1. "Dancing tampons". Wired. July 26, 2000. Archived from the original on November 8, 2012. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  2. Pearce, Tralee (November 13, 2007). "Cashing in on preteen puberty". Globe and Mail. Canada. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  3. Rich, Moctoko (June 12, 2006). "Product Placement Deals Make Leap From Film to Books". New York Times. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  4. Sonia Baelo-Allué (June 23, 2011). Bret Easton Ellis's Controversial Fiction: Writing Between High and Low Culture. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 104. ISBN 978-1-4411-0791-6. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  5. "beinggirl.com". Procter & Gamble. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  6. Martin, Andrew (January 12, 2011). "As the Web Turns". New York Times. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  7. Lee, Bill (April 5, 2012). "The Things Customers Can Do Better Than You". HBR Blog. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
  8. Dick Martin (May 15, 2009). Secrets of the Marketing Masters: What the Best Marketers Do--And Why It Works. AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-8144-0943-5. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  9. Jiwani, Yasmin; Steenbergen, Candis; Mitchell, Claudia (2006). Girlhood: Redefining the Limits. Black Rose Books Ltd. p. 203. ISBN 978-1-55164-276-5. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  10. Patrick Barwise; Sean Meehan (September 19, 2011). Beyond the Familiar: Long-Term Growth through Customer Focus and Innovation. John Wiley & Sons. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-470-97650-0. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  11. Venkatesh Shankar; Gregory S. Carpenter (June 12, 2012). Handbook of Marketing Strategy. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 207. ISBN 978-1-84980-098-3. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  12. Jagdish N. Sheth; Rajendra S. Sisodia (2006). Does Marketing Need Reform?: Fresh Perspectives on the Future. M.E. Sharpe. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-7656-1699-9. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  13. Jack Canfield; Mark Victor Hansen; Susan L. Hendrix (2005). Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living: Menopause. HCI Books. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-7573-0273-2. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  14. Debra W. Haffner; Alyssa Haffner Tartaglione (July 21, 2009). Beyond the Big Talk: A Parent's Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Teens — From Middle School to High School and Beyond. HarperCollins. p. 205. ISBN 978-1-55704-866-0. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  15. Antony Young (March 3, 2007). Profitable Marketing Communications: A Guide to Marketing Return on Investment. Kogan Page Publishers. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-7494-5142-4. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  16. Adam Arvidsson (2006). Brands: Meaning and Value in Media Culture. Routledge. p. 102. ISBN 978-0-415-34716-7. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  17. Nutter, Blaise (August 31, 2009). "5 rules for marketing in niche social networks". iMediaConnection. Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  18. Halverson, Nathan (April 24, 2008). "Finding direction as Web 2.0 changes". PressDemocrat.com. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  19. Thomas C. O'Guinn; Chris T. Allen; Richard J. Semenik (February 16, 2011). Advertising and Integrated Brand Promotion. Cengage Learning. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-538-47332-3. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  20. O'Guinn; Allen; Richard J. Semenik (June 26, 2010). Promo. Cengage Learning. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-538-47327-9. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  21. Petrecca, Laura (September 10, 2006). "Authors strike deals to squeeze in a few brand names". USA Today. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  22. Deam, Jenny (September 13, 2006). "Selling a book by its CoverGirl". The Denver Post. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  23. Ronald V. Bettig; Jeanne Lynn Hall (May 4, 2012). Big Media, Big Money: Cultural Texts and Political Economics. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 208. ISBN 978-1-4422-0427-0. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  24. Deutsch, Claudia H. (May 9, 2006). "Trying to Make Teenage Hygiene Hip". New York Times. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  25. Palmer, Alex (January 1, 2011). "Marketers strike a balance between skeptical teens and their cautious parents". Direct Marketing News. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  26. Hille, Alfred (February 22, 2002). "CONNECTIONS: Whisper site banks on club appeal". Campaign. Haymarket Media Group. Archived from the original on June 3, 2012. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  27. Dan Hill (September 3, 2010). About Face: The Secrets of Emotionally Effective Advertising. Kogan Page Publishers. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-7494-5923-9. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  28. Gaurav Bhalla (January 1, 2011). Collaboration and Co-Creation: New Platforms for Marketing and Innovation. Springer. p. 69. ISBN 978-1-4419-7082-4. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  29. Pahwa, Nikhil (November 20, 2006). "P&G Launches Branded Space – BeingGirl.co.in". contentsutra. GigaOM. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  30. Atherton, Sophie; Smithers, Rebecca (August 23, 2011). "BeingGirl website accused of 'exploiting' teenage girls". The Guardian. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
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