Updating Mad Men: Pond's Cold Cream

This week the Mad Men crew got a present just in time for the Christmas episode: Pond's Cold Cream. One of the old characters returned, having just left one of the big agencies in town he showed up at the doorstep of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce holding a chance to win the business of Pond's Cold Cream. In 1964 dollars this was worth about $2 million a year. Not a bad little piece of business.

The story line pits the old-school copywriter, Freddy Rumsen, against Peggy Olson, the young, brash and bright copywriter who also happens to be a woman. While working on the ad the two argue over who should be the spokeswoman for Pond's. Freddy pushes for older actresses, some who have never left Broadway, while Peggy wants someone younger, like Elizabeth Taylor. Freddy also focuses on what Pond's does for your face and how it can help younger women find a husband, while Peggy wants to focus on the act of putting on the cream and how it makes you feel beautiful, not for a man but for yourself.

All very interesting arguments, so how does Pond's look in the cold, harsh reality of 2010? Well, it happens that it more resembles Freddy's vision than Peggy's.

Pond's is a subsidiary of Unilever, so this is a company that knows a thing or two about marketing. They've obviously positioned Pond's at the over-40 crowd. But one of the first thing that I noticed in looking for Pond's Cold Cream was that it's hard to find on Google. When you Google the brand a link to comes up first, with the "Pond's Institute" the brand's main site, is buried deep in the selection list, though right above the Unilever brand site for the same product line. So the first thing we here at Fresh Ground would do is get a big jar of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and schmear it on the site.

I've also noticed that the forums seemed to be filled with people saying that they love the product, so why not try to capture that a bit? Sure, continue with the "over 40 celebrity" message, but start to incorporate some testimonials. In fact, start soliciting them a little stronger, both through forums and social sites like Facebook. Keep in mind that Facebook has great growth with people over 40, so it's a perfect venue for this kind of targeted demographic.

Message wise I may take things a bit further and look for mother/daughter combinations, or even grandmother/ mother/ daughter. A big part of the brand is that it has a long history, so why not bring that to the people? Actively look for mothers who helped their daughters discover Pond's Cold Cream and ask for their pictures together, either through a Flickr campaign or on Facebook by tagging images with "Pond's Cold Cream." You can drive that action by offering up something like product (free samples), coupons or even a chance to be featured in an ad in a major publication. This would be a great way to combine the social side of things with the tradition outlets that they're already accessing.

Dove, another Unilever brand, did something similar with its Real Beauty campaign, so it's certainly something that worked before and would work again.

All that being said, Dove is a sponsor of Mad Men, so I wonder if featuring Pond's in the script was part of the deal. If so, good move marketing folks at Pond's! Though, judging by the fact that someone started a Twitter account called PondsColdCream that appears to be a Mad Men thing, not belonging to Pond's, I'm going to guess that the folks at Unilever haven't yet figured out social media for this brand.

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