BeingGirl

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BeingGirl
Web address beinggirl.com
Slogan For Girls, By Girls[1]
Commercial? Yes
Type of site
Inbound marketing, Self care
Registration Optional
Owner Procter & Gamble
Launched July 2000; 14 years ago (2000-07)[2]
Current status Online

BeingGirl is a "kid-friendly"[3] web site targeted at adolescent girls[4][5] created in 2000 by consumer goods company Procter & Gamble (P&G).[6]

It provides information and advice. It is also a marketing tool.

History[edit]

The site was created in 2000,[7] with P&G including content provided by experts.[8] Its development was led by the company's Tampax brand[9][10] and feminine care group.[11] Forums were later added, in order to build interest. This enables girls to discuss things with each other, facilitating more subtle and effective marketing by the company.[8] Company representatives "play an active role" in this user-generated content.[12]

As of 2006, the website was available in 25 countries.[13] Its content editor in 2005 was author Marcia Byalick.[14]

Features[edit]

The site provides information and expert advice on topical self care issues such as menstruation, eating disorders, acne and dating,[15] by taking a "big-sister approach".[16] Features such as self-discovery quizzes are also included.[17] It also advertises some of the company's products[7][16] and has offered free samples from Always and Tampax.[18] The information is provided using "cool teenage-girl vocabulary".[13]

In addition to offering advice, the site gathers information from questions asked anonymously by visitors. This is used for inbound internet marketing of its products, being judged by co-author of social technologies book Groundswell, Josh Bernoff, as being four times as cost-effective as advertising.[19][9] The site facilitates data collection and market testing.[20][21] Sociologist Adam Arvidsson, writing in 2006, analysed the site's premise as being that "engagement in community-like interaction will generate emotional and experiential ties" in consumers. They will consequently relate positively to the brand, which will raise the brand's equity.[17]

Marketing agreements[edit]

The authors and publishers of 2006 novel Cathy's Book agreed with P&G to include references to the CoverGirl makeup line in exchange for promoting the book on BeingGirl.[4][22][23] No monetary payment was involved.[24] The references were deleted in the novel's paperback edition.[22] Also in 2006, Sony BMG partnered with P&G to feature its artists on the site.[25] David G. Knox, a teenage market specialist in P&G's beauty division said that they approached Sony in order for teens to associate their brands with stars such as singer-songwriter Teddy Geiger.[25]

Reception[edit]

It's a safe place where they can go for information about changes they are experiencing but are too embarrassed to discuss.

Velvet Gogol Bennett, P&G's North America feminine care external relations manager (January 2011)[26]

The Taiwan site attracted 6000 registered members in the three months since launch in 2002.[27] As of 2010, it was receiving in excess of 2 million hits worldwide per month.[28] Its "successful engagement of teen girls" has been largely attributed to the company "stay[ing] in the background".[29] Its Indian site was launched in 2006, which Nikhil Pahwa on the contentsutra blog observed to "lack the freedom of a social networking space", such as Hindustan Unilever's Sunsilk Gang of Girls.[30] Writing in 2006, Sheth and Sisodia noted that the open discussion (in real life) by teenage girls of feminine hygiene products may be difficult in some countries.[13]

In 2011, the charity Mothers' Union criticised the site for being "clearly a marketing tool" and Rebecca Morgan of the London Feminist Network linked references to hair removal and erotic underwear with the sexualisation of childhood.[31] Research fellow at the University of York, Dr Merran Toerien, criticised the site's attitude in advertising to such a young age group.[31]

Some reviewers evaluated the health content as being "useful and well presented", although concern was expressed about the number of product mentions.[9] Some of the weight-loss tips were seen by some as "enabling eating-disorder behavior".[9]

A P&G spokeswoman said that the site's "broader personal wellbeing educational scheme was strongly supported by schools".[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Robert L. Dilenschneider (17 February 2010). The AMA Handbook of Public Relations. AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-8144-1525-2. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "Dancing tampons". Wired. July 26, 2000. Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  3. ^ Pearce, Tralee (November 13, 2007). "Cashing in on preteen puberty". Globe and Mail (Canada). Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Rich, Motoko (June 12, 2006). "Product Placement Deals Make Leap From Film to Books". New York Times. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  5. ^ Sonia Baelo-Allué (23 June 2011). Bret Easton Ellis's Controversial Fiction: Writing Between High and Low Culture. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 104. ISBN 978-1-4411-0791-6. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "beinggirl.com". Procter & Gamble. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Martin, Andrew (January 12, 2011). "As the Web Turns". New York Times. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Lee, Bill (April 5, 2012). "The Things Customers Can Do Better Than You". HBR Blog. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved April 23, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c d Dick Martin (15 May 2009). Secrets of the Marketing Masters: What the Best Marketers Do--And Why It Works. AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-8144-0943-5. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  10. ^ Yasmin Jiwani; Candis Steenbergen; Claudia Mitchell (2006). Girlhood: Redefining the Limits. Black Rose Books Ltd. p. 203. ISBN 978-1-55164-276-5. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  11. ^ Patrick Barwise; Sean Meehan (19 September 2011). Beyond the Familiar: Long-Term Growth through Customer Focus and Innovation. John Wiley & Sons. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-470-97650-0. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  12. ^ Venkatesh Shankar; Gregory S. Carpenter (12 June 2012). Handbook of Marketing Strategy. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 207. ISBN 978-1-84980-098-3. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c Jagdish N. Sheth; Rajendra S. Sisodia (2006). Does Marketing Need Reform?: Fresh Perspectives on the Future. M.E. Sharpe. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-7656-1699-9. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  14. ^ Jack Canfield; Mark Victor Hansen; Susan L. Hendrix (2005). Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living: Menopause. HCI Books. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-7573-0273-2. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  15. ^ Debra W. Haffner; Alyssa Haffner Tartaglione (21 July 2009). Beyond the Big Talk: A Parent's Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Teens — From Middle School to High School and Beyond. HarperCollins. p. 205. ISBN 978-1-55704-866-0. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  16. ^ a b Antony Young (3 March 2007). Profitable Marketing Communications: A Guide to Marketing Return on Investment. Kogan Page Publishers. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-7494-5142-4. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  17. ^ a b Adam Arvidsson (2006). Brands: Meaning and Value in Media Culture. Routledge. p. 102. ISBN 978-0-415-34716-7. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  18. ^ Nutter, Blaise (August 31, 2009). "5 rules for marketing in niche social networks". iMediaConnection. Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  19. ^ Halverson, Nathan (April 24, 2008). "Finding direction as Web 2.0 changes". PressDemocrat.com. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  20. ^ Thomas C. O'Guinn; Chris T. Allen; Richard J. Semenik (16 February 2011). Advertising and Integrated Brand Promotion. Cengage Learning. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-538-47332-3. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  21. ^ O'Guinn; Allen; Richard J. Semenik (26 June 2010). Promo. Cengage Learning. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-538-47327-9. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  22. ^ a b Petrecca, Laura (September 10, 2006). "Authors strike deals to squeeze in a few brand names". USA Today. Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  23. ^ Deam, Jenny (September 13, 2006). "Selling a book by its CoverGirl". The Denver Post. Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  24. ^ Ronald V. Bettig; Jeanne Lynn Hall (4 May 2012). Big Media, Big Money: Cultural Texts and Political Economics. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 208. ISBN 978-1-4422-0427-0. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  25. ^ a b Deutsch, Claudia H. (May 9, 2006). "Trying to Make Teenage Hygiene Hip". New York Times. Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  26. ^ Palmer, Alex (January 1, 2011). "Marketers strike a balance between skeptical teens and their cautious parents". Direct Marketing News. Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  27. ^ Hille, Alfred (February 22, 2002). "CONNECTIONS: Whisper site banks on club appeal". Campaign (Haymarket Media Group). Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  28. ^ Dan Hill (3 September 2010). About Face: The Secrets of Emotionally Effective Advertising. Kogan Page Publishers. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-7494-5923-9. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  29. ^ Gaurav Bhalla (1 January 2011). Collaboration and Co-Creation: New Platforms for Marketing and Innovation. Springer. p. 69. ISBN 978-1-4419-7082-4. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  30. ^ Pahwa, Nikhil (November 20, 2006). "P&G Launches Branded Space – BeingGirl.co.in". contentsutra. GigaOM. Retrieved January 24, 2013. 
  31. ^ a b c Atherton, Sophie; Smithers, Rebecca (August 23, 2011). "BeingGirl website accused of 'exploiting' teenage girls". The Guardian. Retrieved March 30, 2012.