Secret Gets Real with Fake Blogs

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I'm sort of addicted to this stuff. It's light, vanilla scent is just the thing on a hot day, or after a cool shower on a REALLY hot day, when fragrance is just too much. The spray has a nice feel, and it's not at all as "sparkly" as you might think (or even hope). The problem (if it is one), is that this is a product marketed for 7-year-olds! Or even younger.

According to Ad Age, “Girls have started using deodorant younger and younger,” said Dave Knox, assistant brand manager at P&G overseeing the body-spray launch. “If you don’t target the consumer in her formative years, you’re not going to be relevant through the rest of her life.”

This makes perfect sense, right? P&G figures that if you don't get 'em young, you won't get 'em at all. So, they've come up with Sparkle Body Spray, and an advertising strategy designed to capture youngsters where they live - online.

Supposedly, imc², an "interactive ad agency" (go ask Lauren what that is) has created a first for the Procter & Gamble brand - 'character' blogs wherein each "Sparkle Body Spray Girl" has her own posts on the website, written in a tone and language to match her unique personality. Rose is a romantic. Vanilla is a hip music lover. Tropical is a cheerleader. And Peach is into computers. (I'm Vanilla - go figure). Some folks (like those over at the Big Blog Company) are ecstatic. Others are less so, citing "fake blogs" and "fake people" as a sign of mass marketing manipulation that poor smelly 7-year-old girls won't be able to figure out.

In fact, the uproar was so loud that P&G has pulled the ad campaign. According the CBS News Marketplace, "Procter & Gamble has quashed its Secret Sparkle Body Spray ad campaign that targeted preteen girls with a deodorant body spray.

The move comes after the Children’s Advertising Review Unit complained that P&G was ignoring its guidelines for advertising to children. The CARU rules say that “products inappropriate for children should not be advertised to children. This is especially true for products labelled ‘Keep out of reach of children.’”

The offending deodorant spray line carried a ‘Keep out of reach of children’ label, but nonetheless P&G’s advertising for the product was directly aimed at preteen girls as young as seven."

Damn. Now you can't find the Sparkle Girl blogs, nor can you find them on the "immersive online advertising" on, or at And what totally fun stuff will Vanilla be doing this weekend? What about her iPod downloads? Now I'm worried that if I can't find the Sparkle Girls, I won't be able to find my Sparkle Body Spray. Maybe P&G will pull that too. And that will just stink.

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