Every company wants to find the secret sauce for social media success, and last night, Tide took a stab at it under the guise of charity work. The company hosted 40 social media buffs from Facebook, Google, and other agencies at the Proctor & Gamble headquarters for a contest to raise money for Tide's Loads of Hope campaign. The campaign gives 100% of the money from Tide t-shirt sales to disaster relief agencies in the United States.
That's all well and good, but the real reason for Tide's Digital Night was to help "P&G understand the digital space", according to Bob Gilbreath, the event's marketing strategist. So last night, P&G/Tide divided its visitors into 4 teams (with P&G marketing execs sprinkled throughout), and challenged them to sell as many $20 t-shirts as they could by the end of the evening. The teams used Twitter, Facebook, and personal websites in their attempts to find t-shirt buyers. When it was all over, the Loads of Hope campaign ended up being one of the top stories on Google News.
The winning team raised $50,000, and Tide matched their contribution---not too bad for a night of social media experimentation. And in the end, everyone benefited from the competition. Visiting guests had the opportunity to impress P&G marketing managers, disaster victims got relief, and P&G learned how to navigate the digital media space. Sounds like a blueprint other organizations hoping to use social media should follow.