Would You Have A Beer With P&G?

Men, the time has come. Finally, you can obtain relationship advice from the very same people who make your toilet paper—yeesh.

P&G HQ in Cincinnati, OH

The NY Times reported yesterday that product juggernaut P&G (based in my hometown of Cincinnati) is seeing over half a million monthly visitors to its men’s interest site, manofthehouse.com. Launched in June of last year, the site is one of the ways P&G intends to target what it sees is a largely untapped market: the family man.

With a slew of seemingly omnipresent, successful products to its name, P&G is one corporation that can afford to be experimental. After all, past P&G marketing campaigns include the modern day soap opera, initially founded as a way to promote its cleaning products to the stay-at-home female audience. (Considering, manofthehouse.com seems unnecessary to me, as I get all my relationship advice from NBC’s Passions).

However, looking at the site, it does appear relatively seamless. The tone of the articles is candid, conversational, and sometimes irreverent; I didn’t feel completely bludgeoned by product promotion. But I find myself asking: what’s the point?

Is P&G looking for cool points? Are they trying to start a buddy-buddy relationship spurred by the site’s contributors and reciprocated by the consumer? Probably. Is that bad? I’d say not at all—as long as it’s done well.

The question of tone and appropriateness comes into play, given P&G’s visibility and product spectrum. Is there foreseeable detriment in having so many contributing voices under P&G’s umbrella? In the NY Times article, a P&G spokeswoman stressed the fairly mild tone of the site in contrast to some of the edgier competing men’s product promotions out there. By and large, manofthehouse.com is a palatable supplement to P&G’s marketing efforts and seems to be enjoying a bit of success. So P&G wants to jumpstart its reputation as the “cool dad in town” by serving as arbiter of men’s issues?

Fine by me, as long as they don’t start showing up loud and uninvited.

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