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Kimberly-Clark’s push to meld music and commerce backfires without mobile


Kimberly-Clark misses out on mobile

Kimberly-Clark’s new music-focused coupon initiative misses out on a massive opportunity to connect smartphone-wielding moms with mobile content and highlights the challenges that big consumer-packaged-goods brands have in getting mobile right.

The CPG giant’s new program is called Celebrate Family Unity – or FUN — and includes a microsite geared towards including more music into families' day-to-day lives. Kimberly-Clark claims that the site and program is designed for mobile, but many of the core features — including coupon redemptions and ringtone downloads — are only available on desktops, marking a big hole in the brand’s strategy.

“[The] program was created for the mobile screen first since we know Hispanic consumers are three times more likely to have Internet via a mobile device only and not [through a] desktop,” said Lizette Williams, head of the multicultural strategy team and program lead at Kimberly-Clark, Irving, TX. “This was a critical part of the program design.”

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Music to my ears
Kimberly-Clark’s campaign lives at the http://thefunsong.com microsite, and California-based participants in the program will receive coupons for Kimberly-Clark products, including Kleenex, Scott and Pull-Ups.

These consumers will also be entered into a sweepstakes to meet singer Christina Milian for a recording session. Consumers can be alerted if they are the winner by typing in their mobile phone number into the microsite.

The campaign lets consumers create a short theme song that can be shared through social media or downloaded. 

The song is created based on a list of questions such as, “If you want to find my family having fun together, look here first.” 

Consumers also need to type in the city where they live, pick an adjective and select a music genre that best describes their family to make the song.

A preview of a song

Users can then preview and edit a small clip of a song. A full version of the song can also be unlocked by creating a Kimberly-Clark account. Once an account is created, the full version of the song and coupon is sent via email.

The email links consumers to a Web page that displays seven different coupons. However, the coupon content is not optimized for mobile and consumers cannot access the coupons from a smartphone.

The coupons from a mobile device

Via the Web site, consumers can print the coupons to use in-store. The coupons are redeemed via a bar code that is scanned at the point-of-sale.

Not having a mobile component to the redemption process on the microsite is a big miss for Kimberly-Clark since the program is geared towards moms and families, who are some of the most dependent on their smartphones and tablets.

The CPG giant is however weaving its involvement with the third-party mobile shopping application Ibotta into the campaign. Via the app, consumers can receive rebates for purchasing specific Kimberly-Clark brands that are involved in the FUN.

The CPG brand’s campaign is also targeted towards both English and Spanish consumers. Hispanic consumers in particular are a big draw for mobile marketers given that the demographic over-indexes on accessing mobile content (see story). 

Kimberly-Clark is getting consumers to sign up for the program in retail partners such as Walgreens, Safeway, Walmart and Target.

Users can email coupons to themselves

Missed social opportunity
The coupons also have some interesting integrations with social media, but again lack a mobile component. 

Kimberly-Clark’s coupons go up in value based on how many social shares on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter a clip racks up. The more shares that a song receives, the higher the amount of the coupon.

While the sharing component is accessible via a smartphone or tablet, the offers themselves cannot be redeemed from a mobile device.

With the significant amount of social activity that takes place on mobile devices, making the coupons accessible via mobile is even more important.

There is also an option to download the mini-song as a ringtone for iPhone and Android devices once consumers create the clip. The clip can be redeemed via an Android device, but cannot be completed from an iPhone device due to restrictions from Apple.

Instead, iPhone users can download the offer from a desktop and save it to iTunes to then transfer it to another device.

Mobile components for these campaigns have now become table stakes for most brands, especially for CPG brands that have a giant reach.

At the same time that Kimberly-Clark is launching a wide-reaching digital campaign, other CPG giants are taking a much different and hyper-targeted approach to mobile.

For example, Mondelēz is switching up both its approach to agencies and multi-brand campaigns by using mobile for niche, smaller campaigns (see story).

Unilever is also launching a program that partners start-ups with several brands to test small-scale efforts, such as in-store beacons (see story). 

In many of these cases, mobile is essentially being used as a way to test smaller-scale initiatives that fit into bigger strategies aimed at increasing digital spend. 

Kimberly-Clark appears to be trying to apply this school of thought to hone in on the Hispanic demographic, but clearly missed the mark on making the campaign accessible via mobile.

“Hispanic consumers over-index across all social networking sites and in usage of mobile Internet, which drove the program design,” Ms. Williams said. 

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York

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Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer. Reach her at lauren@mobilemarketer.com.

Related content: Content, mobile, mobile marketing, Kimberly Clark, Lizette Williams

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Comments on "Kimberly-Clark’s push to meld music and commerce backfires without mobile "

  1. Hugh Jedwill says:

    August 11, 2014 at 10:03am

    This marketing campaign has been researched and vetted with far more rigor than this article. K-C purposely sent consumers to their computers so they could print their coupons as there is no common solution to print coupons from your phone. More importantly there is no couponing solution that can be redeemed directly from your phone for national consumer product brands like K-C, Kraft and P&G. And there won't be for at least four years and probably more. Obviously, this prevents a fully closed loop "mobile" solution and this will be the case until:
    1. ALL retailers have new scanning hardware/software that can read a smartphone's screen,
    2. A unified system pulls that data to the coupon clearing houses that currently handle paper coupons and
    3. That process is then tied into GAAP so that brands don't get audited by the IRS.
    Until these three items are implemented (plus a few more minor ones) there will be no "mobile coupon" redemption system.
    I challenge you to find a mobile couponing app or other system that truly closes this loop. The leading ones like Cellfire only work with specific retail partners. This can't scale because even a Cellfire can't bring all retailers onto one system. Other mobile couponing apps like Shopmium sideskirt GAAP by not reporting coupon redemption for federal review - a big no-no that will ultimately fail to scale because national brands must adhere to GAAP or run afoul of the IRS.
    I look forward to a day when I can store and redeem a mobile coupon at more than just one retailer like Target. But until then, all national consumer product brands will "miss this massive opportunity" that you claim K-C is in this hastily written article.
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