- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2009

CINCINNATI (AP) - Procter & Gamble Co. marketers have teamed with companies ranging from Facebook to Google to sell T-shirts for disaster relief while exploring online potential.

The world’s largest advertiser hosted a “digital night” Wednesday. Some 40 people from social media and Internet companies including Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., as well as research firms and ad agencies, joined 100 P&G; employees in a four-hour exercise.

They were mixed in teams that worked to sell online, such as by using social networks, reaching out to bloggers, and Twittering.

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P&G; has been active online for years. But the consumer products maker says it wants to do more as the potential audience grows rapidly through such networks as Facebook and MySpace and the rise of Twitter, in which people communicate with brief digital updates.

“As more and more people participate in these networks, it’s really important for us to understand ways we can engage with consumers,” P&G; spokeswoman Tressie Long said Thursday. “You can’t just walk in and flag your banner ad on a page.”

Some 3,000 Tide vintage logo T-shirts were sold at $20 each through the evening project, and P&G;’s Tide added a donation to bring the total raised to $100,000. That will benefit a Tide detergent program, “Loads of Hope,” that provides mobile laundry service in disaster areas such as New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, in partnership with the Feeding America hunger-relief organization.

P&G;, long known for its television commercials for such products as Charmin toilet paper and Crest toothpaste, has taken other recent steps to expand its online horizons.

The Cincinnati-based company has had job swaps with Mountain View, Calif.-based Google, and P&G; in December said it bought a small stake in a British online grocer, Ocado, to add to its knowledge of Internet shopping.


On the Net:

Tide disaster relief site: https://www.tideloadsofhope.com

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