Tide of Visitors Flood Coldwater Challenge Site

An online viral campaign for Procter & Gamble’s new Tide Coldwater detergent drove 904 percent more traffic to Tide.com in its first week. Traffic increased by another 300 percent in the second week. That’s according to statistics from research firm Hitwise.

Tide executives say the company’s internal numbers are also encouraging. They declined to share specifics, however, saying it’s still too early to assess the campaign’s full results.

“It definitely exceeds expectations,” said Randall Chinchilla, manager of external relations for Tide. “It exceeds any previous efforts we’ve ever done. We consider it successful, really encouraging.”

Hitwise said the refer-a-friend portion of the email campaign had a significant effect on increased site traffic. The week before the Alliance to Save Energy — Tide’s partner — began sending out email to start the viral effort, email services drove just 1.27 percent of traffic to Tide.com. The week after the campaign began, that number rose to 28.44 percent. The next week, 56.21 percent of visits to Tide.com had originated at email services.

“[Traditional] advertising is, day by day, losing reach and penetration,” said Chinchilla. “This has been an outstanding way to create buzz and awareness of Tide Coldwater.”

According to Hitwise, nearly two-thirds of visitors to Tide.com for the four weeks ending January 29 were female — traditionally P&G’s target audience. Twenty-eight percent were over age 55, and 57 percent had household incomes of less than $60,000 per year.

Hitwise said half of visitors to Tide.com were from the “Town and Country” Claritas/PRIZM social segment, meaning they were residents of small towns and rural communities with quiet lifestyles. The “Rustic Living,” “Middle America,” and “Country Comfort” segments were also more likely to visit the site, according to Hitwise.

“Rustic Living” comprises people with modest incomes, low educational levels, and blue-collar jobs. The “Middle America” segment is mostly white, middle-class, high-school educated residents of remote towns. “Country Comfort” consumers are predominantly white, middle-class homeowners with comfortable, upscale lifestyles.

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