I just learned about this cool new product called Tide Pods, which uses neat little pods of detergent to brighten laundry. I learned about it on Facebook because a friend of mine from college shared it. And it made an impact.
Unfortunately, said ad is now not in her Timeline -- which seems strange -- so I can’t give you the level of detail I’d like. I do know this, however: it’s the first time I’ve actually noticed an ad in my News Feed and it demonstrated that, under the right conditions, Facebook’s ads can be pretty compelling.
Why did I notice it? That the ad contained a big and colorful graphic certainly helped. But what made it at least as interesting were its levels of “Likes” and comments, which, as I recall, numbered in the tens of thousands for the former and thousands for the latter. And some of the comments made me hope that Tide Pods will be available through my detergent purveyor of choice: Costco. A sampling, taken from Tide Pods Facebook page:
“I absolutely love the tide pods....sent my husband to the store for laundry soap and he brought home the pods....just love them...his best purchase so far.
“I love the Tide pods I have used both scents .. They work great...We sell so many at our Stop n shop ..Hyannis Ma Big seller
“Tide Pods! Are a great way to wash the laundry because they are powerful enough to clean out my son's uniforms but gentle with my delicate cloth! Great invention! :+) “
Be cynical, if you, well, “Like,” about whether these are stealth comments created by farflung Procter & Gamble employees. However, if you’re a mom who, at this writing, is well behind on doing laundry and concerned about whether the kids will complain about the stains on their white sweatshirts, comments like this resonate. (Note to people who are not parents: Kids do complain about this stuff.)
Now, there are three takeaways from this little Tide experience I’ve had on Facebook.
1. I’m interested in this product.
2. It is possible to build buzz for a product on Facebook.
3. How come I’ve never noticed an ad in my News Feed on Facebook before?
So, you see, even if you thought the rest of this column was going to be devoted to a defense of Facebook’s ad model, I’m not sure that’s where I come out on this. There’s obviously no question about whether, on an individual basis, this ad moved me from brand awareness down to consideration.
Given my TV viewing habits -- or lack of a habit thereof -- that’s something other media probably wouldn’t have accomplished when it comes to Catharine P. Taylor, Mom. On the other hand, for Facebook’s ad model to take off, it will need a lot more of these kinds of impactful ads.
And, because a punworthy close is the only way out here, I’m not sure the Tide has turned.
(P.S. I should note that I posted Tide Pods on my Timeline while I was writing this column to see if it would cough up specific sharing stats. As I, and some commenters discovered, the link isn’t working right now. Not good.)