Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Brand enthusiasm

You guys have seen these brand enthusiast campaigns that pop around the blogosphere every now and then, right? The three that come to mind are Gap, Nintendo, and Dove.

I don't have a problem with the campaigns at all. In fact, I think they are inspired. I get so many PR pitches in my inbox and almost without fail, they are poorly executed--nothing to do with me or my blog, clearly not coming from someone who is familiar with me or my blog, wanting quite a bit in exchange for nothing or very little. (See this brilliant post for a sample of the type of pitch I tend to receive. I'm sure most of you have received similar correspondence.)

I would have no problem doing compensated reviews, provided I were allowed to be honest. I've never been approached by anyone with a PR pitch that actually intrigued me, which is the reason I haven't done anything like this yet. However, if I were to be selected for a BlogHer review campaign, or to become a brand enthusiast for a company I was interested in, I would totally go for it.

I thought the Nintendo and Gap campaigns were smart. They picked a variety of bloggers with different perspectives and audiences. They hosted great parties for those bloggers, with great giveaways for all the guests. And then they had the bloggers post giveaway contests for nice things. I believe in Nintendo's case it was a Wii or a Wii Fit, and with the Gap it was a free pair of jeans or a $50 gift certificate.

But the brand enthusiast campaign I've seen most recently is for Dove. Specifically, a new type of Dove deodorant. I've seen at least three or four posts from some of my regular bloggers who have hosted Dove parties and are now doing Dove giveaways on their blogs. And again, I think that's awesome. Congrats to them for getting selected to participate, and getting to host what looks like a fun party.

But what I don't understand about the Dove campaign is the giveaway. From what I can tell, the item up for winning in each of these contests is a sample of Dove's new deodorant. That appears to be all.

Maybe I've been skimming? Or didn't read the rules correctly? But I feel like I have a certain threshold when it comes to a) the types of reviews or giveaways I'd be willing to post on my blog, and b) the types of contests and giveaways I'd bother entering on other people's blogs. And a contest for a sample of a deodorant that probably costs $4 even in its full-size form? Well, that's below my own personal threshold. I think it would make a lot more sense for Dove to give away a whole basket of fun pampering body products from their current line, with the new deodorant they're trying to promote placed front and center. That is the type of contest that I would take the time to enter, and that would motivate me to give my contact information to a corporation. A deodorant sample? Not so much.

But again, maybe I don't know the whole story. So I'd love to hear from you guys. Have you ever participated in a compensated review, giveaway, brand enthusiast, etc. program? How did you make the decision? I would especially love to hear from people participating in the current Dove campaign... is there more to it than what I'm seeing? How did you decide to take part?

And if you've never participated in a campaign like this, would you consider doing it? What do you think when you see compensated reviews and giveaways on other people's blogs?


  1. I guess I question why a promotion and giveaway has to be full of expensive or flashy stuff to be of value? I think one of the biggest obstacles for manufacturers is getting new products in a consumer's hands when they're competing in a crowded marketplace. So, to provide a blogger and 10 friends a fun day (the Dove campaign involves taking a class of some sort - boxing, for example) and then get that product in those hands plus a few others (through a giveaway) can be a really helpful marketing campaign. And as a consumer, I'm open to it, too - why not try something new. I have nothing to lose.

  2. I completely agree. I was part of the Gap campaign and it was so much fun and I think bloggers enjoyed reading about it and participating in the giveaways. But this new Dove campaign seems different. Maybe it's aimed more at the brand enthusiasts? The giveaway of deodorant seems awkward to me... and I haven't entered to win simply because it doesn't interest me enough.

  3. I did consider doing a compensated review for a product I was interested in, but the company wanted me to do a lot of work for one item worth maybe $10. My writing is worth more than that. I haven't heard of the Dove campaign, but I think my writing is worth more than one deodorant. I think it's even worth more than a deodorant and a free class, if Nilsa is right about the campaign. Maybe the bloggers feeling like they're being paid enough or are getting some kind of intangible benefit (experience, exposure) out of the deal. To me, the compensation doesn't sound like it's enough, but that's just my opinion.

  4. You aren't skimming. Besides an exercise class and a t-shirt, all you'd get is deodorant for the Dove Party.

    I love being a Nintendo Enthusiast. They've really convinced me to love their product. It worked!

  5. We all have different criteria for what will convince us to do a promo or not. You have yet to find one that works for you and others have. I think as long as people are honest about the incentives, I don't mind what promos bloggers get involved in. We all have our price, right? ;)

    Alas, mine was just free entry to a party promoting a new vodka.

  6. I've seen SO many brand promos popping up lately and I have to say, I'm with you. I have always wanted to be a part of something similar to this, any form of product review, and I've never been approached. I think a lot of that stems from being a non-US blogger - but even in my 'alyndabear' days, I still stayed fairly anonymous.

    I think the idea behind it is good, and definitely worthwhile - especially in the case of the Nintendo and Gap ones! Jealous!

  7. I would be open to a giveaway as simple as that. These days, I think anything free is worthwhile, and the parties are more about the gathering than the item for the participants. They will remember that Dove made it possible. I suspect that the hostess was provided with additional incentive, even if in the form of coupons to provide snacks to her guests.

    I have hosted blog giveaways for products/books that interest me, and declined a few for those that don't.

  8. I don't do reviews or giveaways on my blog, but I also don't get pitched very often -- maybe two or three times a year.

    I consider my blog to be a place to practice my writing, capture memories, and reflect on my life. In general I'd say that does not mesh with giveaways. But even I would have my price. I'm not interested in products that I have never heard of, but I'd sell out for something big and beautiful like a free trip or video game machine.

    Which you know, they just give away every day on the internet. That'll be the day, I'm sure!

  9. Hey! Recent Dove party hoster here. And I should also disclaim that I'm a Nintendo Brand Enthusiast as well. First of all, I LOVE your insight, and your questions are completely fair and I wondered about the giveaways myself before I was asked to host. Dove didn't ask us to give anything away, I chose to do that because I had a few extra workout shirts and a few extra sticks of deodorant and thought it'd be fun to give both away as sort of a package deal and because I don't need three more workout shirts and three more sticks of deodorant.

    I opted not to just gift these out to my friends because I really appreciate what Dove did to pull the workout party together and as an attendee of an Oscar party that they hosted, that was a really organized and fun event. I felt like hosting a giveaway to help further promote the product was my little way of saying "thanks for the goodies, now here's some love back from me." Again, they didn't ask and this is simply my perspective, but as a firm believer in gratitude, I felt it was right to keep with the momentum of the campaign rather than let it fizzle by gifting those shirts out to friends.

    Hope that helps a little from one perspective!

  10. This Dove campaign was the first in which I participated. The hostess and attendees received a bit more than just the free deodorant sample, and like Doni said, we didn't have to do a giveaway specifically on our blog, but we were given additional "vouchers" for free samples to give to others who were not in attendance.

    I totally see your point, though, a deodorant sample isn't the most exciting thing in the world, but it gets the Dove name out there and in the minds of consumers, I guess.

    I would've LOVED to be able to participate in the Gap or Nintendo parties that were going on last year!

  11. I asked the same question about the Dove thing. Yes, they want to give way Dove products to get more people interested, but you would think they would pizzaz it up a bit, no?

  12. i've been to a gap party and a nintendo party and i CERTAINLY enjoyed all the free swag i got from it! but i'd also totally attend a dove party (or host one) if it were at a kickboxing studio or whatever it sounds like they're doing - like nilsa said, more for the fun & experience, not solely for the product.

    (although i must admit, as a Sweaty Girl who has to buy extra-strength expensive deoderant, i'd TOTALLY be down for free deoderant, hah!)

  13. Interesting post. I'm kind of on the fence. I think I'd feel compelled to pretend to like the item, even if I didn't, but I wouldn't want to be dishonest. It's a tricky line to negotiate.

  14. I'm generally anti-sponsored posts. Unless the review or post is totally honest - and I think it's easy to tell. Unfortunately, true honesty isn't very common in those posts and that bugs me.

  15. I automatically delete those emails, they're so bad. And to be honest, I'm always a little bummed out when a fave blogger starts doing the review thing. Not because I have issues with it (I don't have any, actually, do what you want!) but I just find those posts BORING!

  16. I'll do a promo for anyone who contacts me about a product I love. I actually got a free sample of that particular deodorant at a Blogher party last year and it is AMAZING. I promoted it for free on my blog, and I love it so much I'd gladly give it away if they asked me too!