May 12, 2011

Hoover sucks up to soap fans

Hoover supports the soaps.

Hoover supports the soaps.

Genius marketing or genuine sympathy? Soap operas took their name from the cleaning products being advertised during commercial breaks. So it’s only fitting that Hoover take advantage of the opportunity to engage with one of the most loyal fan bases in television.

ABC recently announced the cancellation of long-running daytime soaps, All My Children and One Life to Live due to declining ratings. Industry professionals believe these declines are a result of the increasing prevalence of social gaming (with games like FarmVille) among the target audience, women age 24-54. As soon as the announcement was made, soap fans took to Facebook and Twitter to express their disapproval and create a grassroots movement against the network. Isn’t it ironic that the social media being blamed for the decrease in soap ratings is being used by fans to protest the shows’ cancellation?

Hoover marketing executive Brian Kirkendall saw an opportunity to build brand loyalty amongst fans. He announced that Hoover would be pulling its spots from ABC as of April 22 to show its support for the soaps that were being taken off the air after more than 40 years. The day after Kirkendall’s announcement, Hoover’s Facebook “likes” spiked from 7,000 to 11,000. Two weeks later, there are more than 15,500 “likes.” Not only did its brand exposure increase as a result of this decision, but soap fans declared April 22 “buy a Hoover day.” Despite decreasing its advertising spending, Hoover was actually increasing sales! The company couldn’t have asked for better PR! Now let’s see if these efforts have an impact on other advertisers or ABC’s decision to cancel the soaps.

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