June 18, 2008

FMCG online? OK, but make it count

Filed under: Advertising — Allan @ 9:04 pm

I was reading Dave Duarte’s latest post around how FMCG brands needs to be marketing themselves online and decided to check out the two websites that were given as examples – and  On the face of it both of these seem like they could be cool applications that provide an element of utility, but I can’t help but think that they missed an opportunity here.

Take Party With Pyotts.  Great, I can register and create an event and then send email invitations to my friends.  They can simply click a link to RSVP and I get a neat listing of the people I’ve invited and whether they are coming or not.  But that’s where it ends.

You’re giving people a tool to plan a social event, so why not build some social elements into it?  If you’re on Facebook you’ve probably been invited to an event planned using their event application.  What’s cool about the eventing there is that not only do you see your invite list and RSVP’s but people can chat pre and post event as well as upload photo’s and video’s.  And Facebook isn’t the only place for this, there are dedicated sites like and for this as well.

So here’s a utility that’s been tied to the brand (because all parties need snacks) but it’s living in its own little world.  Unfortunately only has an API that allows remote posting of events, the others only allow you to retrieve existing event detail.  But there’s an insight in that right there – if websites are exposing their data for you to use in other ways, why not do the same?  Why not build a application or widget that pulls the detail and displays it elsewhere, not only exposing the event to more people in the environments in which that are already playing, but exposing the utility and therefore the brand to more people.  With websites exposing their data through API‘s and service-oriented architecture it becomes a simple matter to mash-up some data and build a really cool application.  Yes, retain your registration data in your database, but it could become something really useful by simply pulling together related data from other services (flickr, Youtube, Facebook).

Then, Pro-Vita.  Here you can build a sandwich using Pro-Vita and selected toppings and see how they stack up with the built-in BMI calculator.  Neat.

But now what.  I’ve invested the time in building my sandwich and it’s over.  Domino’s Pizza created something similar with their Big Fantastic Deal but with their application you could actually order it.

It’s back to the utility of the application – interesting only gets you so far, making something useful will get people coming back to use it again.

So what about Pro-Vita then?  Well, once I’ve created my sandwich, let me save it.  I can then save a few of them and put them together into a snack menu.  I sense a potential link to here…  And if I can save my snack menu (which knows what ingredients I need to make them) why not let me say how many people are coming and then print out a shopping list for me with the quantities I need.

Who knows, might even know how many people were coming.

Subsequent to starting this post I was in touch with the marketing department at AVI, the company that owns the Pyotts brand.  These pages are only meant to be holding pages while bigger and better things are planned.  Fair enough, but any interaction I have with a brand – online or off – will add to my experience and opinion of that brand.  So if you are going to do something, do it right and do it well!



  1. if i were pro-vita i’d do a tie-in with a grocery retailer for buying all the ingredients and maybe even offer a discount coupon. similar to what lego has done with their lego factory where you can build your own toy and order it or order someone elses. now if we can only order cars like that :)

    what about including a build your own pro-vita widget on grocery retail sites in the relevant category instead of banner ads? you can have celebrity favourites or view your friend’s favorites. pro-vita might even have enough cult status to have some social application like on facebook.

    good start though.

    not sure about the pyotts example, seems like there are many other sites that could do this type of thing far better, like facebook.

    Comment by Uwe Gutschow — June 19, 2008 @ 1:09 am | Reply

  2. Yeah, but can you imagine the lawsuits when the first custom-ordered car veers off the road and obviously it couldn’t have been driver error :)

    Facebook does the eventing thing well, but RSVP’ers would then need to register on Facebook to get full advantage. Plus all your reg data lives in someone else’s database.

    Comment by Allan — June 19, 2008 @ 5:19 pm | Reply

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