Why Procter and Gamble Should Spend Some of Its $2.7 Billion Media Budget on More Web Soaps
Ad Age has a new article up about a changing of the guard involving some big wigs at Procter and Gamble, which reveals the company's media budget was $2.7 billion last year, making it the largest media budget of any U.S. company. Wouldn't it be groovy if P&G threw a few scraps down from the table to produce a few short run, webisodic sequels to the numerous soap operas in its library?
If done right, such serialized content could help P&G reach their target demo, move more product and provide a nostalgic treat for the disgruntled fans who watched P&G's daytime soap operas for generations. Look at what Alloy Entertainment is doing with web soaps like Haute and Bothered and Hollywood is Like High School With Money. Major brands sponsor these webisoaps (LG for Haute, L'Oreal for Hollywood), much the same way that detergent makers like P&G sponsored Irna Phillips' radio serials.
Why not do a 10-episode Another World spinoff callled Bay City Prep, focusing on Bridget and Michelle McKinnon, the now teenage twins of Jake and Vicky? Joe and Paulina's son Dante Carlino (whom both girls could be lusting after) and Carl and Rachel's twins Cory and Elizabeth Hutchins could also attend the school, with snobby Cory pitted against towny Dante (Remember, Joe didn't want his kid raised with access the Cory fortune?) for the virginal Bridget.
Meanwhile, Michelle is every bit her late mother's daughter, meaning she's quite the handful for her grandmother Donna Love. Cass and Frankie's daughter Charlie, a psychic like her mom, could also appear, and have the hots for Vicky's son Kirk Harrison, a shy coed at Mackenzie Cory University aka Cory U. (Gotta have a spinoff!), enrolled in the flamboyant Felicia Gallant's creative writing seminar. Charlie isn't sure why Kirk doesn't return her affections. Imagine her surprise when she gets a psychic vision of Kirk kissing Cory Hutchins! Okay, yeah, I know P&G wouldn't go for that last bit, but a boy can try, right?
My point is, there are still viable ways for P&G to use its soap library to move product online. Over 14 million people still watch soaps every week. No, unfortunately that isn't enough to keep them in production on broadcast TV forever, but more and more advertisers like P&G are spending money online. Wouldn't it make sense to capitalize on intellectual property they already own, not to mention diehard, displaced soap opera lovers?
P&G's Cover Girl Queen Collection sponsored one of my favorite web series, Julian Breece and Aaliyah Williams' Buppies for BET.com. Buppies was viewed over 2 million times, with only one recognizable star in Tatyana Ali and cost less than $50,000 to produce. Okay, now math was never my best subject, but if your lipstick is viewed online 2 million times and you only spent the money to license a series that cost half of six figures to produce, that sounds like good business to me!
Imagine what a web series featuring a hot, new cast of teens and twentysomethings playing the next generations of Corys and Loves from AW or Spauldings from Guiding Light, with sporadic appearances by veteran P&G soap actors like Anna Stuart, Beth Chamberlin, Judi Evans, Linda Dano and Stephen Schnetzer, could do for a web soap's hits? Plus, I bet it would help P&G move a ton of WASH IT! brand feminine hygiene product and at the end of the day, ain't that what it's all about?