First Reddit Bacon Soap… Next Twitter Pork Shampoo? Is it a Marketing Plot?

What is the clear cut line, if it exists, between actual monetization planning created to increase profits and marketing/branding strategies designed to increase a “buzz” and word of mouth for a certain product or service? Are social media sites such as Reddit using their influence, popularity and reputation to lawfully bring in more cash or is it all just a maneuver to attract more and more exposure wishfully thinking it will lead to more loyal users?

Reddit's Bacon Soap

Reddit's Bacon Soap

After yet another dive in the OriginalSignal news pool, my hook caught an interesting title: “Love Bacon? Need Soap? Now There’s Reddit’s Bacon Soap.” For a moment there, the main idea floating around my head was: Wow! What a great way to monetize!

I took a few steps back, reflected on all those Marketing courses I have taken a few years back and within yet another few minutes, it struck me: Is Reddit really thinking of gaining profit through selling such a strangely branded, not very appealing, type of soap? Or is this just another way to increase the buzz about Reddit in general and get more people, like me, to write about this product in relation to Reddit?

In my humble opinion, Reddit’s product would not bring about a high percentage of sales but it will, on some level, increase Reddit’s popularity amongst its current and potential users at the same token. The way I see it, and with the social bookmarking site’s clutter, Reddit took a smart step to remind its users of its availability as well as its creativity drawing an image of innovation and continuous improvement in the minds of anyone who hears of it.

I’ll conclude this controversial pick with two simple questions: Would you really consider buying or using Reddit’s Bacon Soap? How did this branding move effect your overview of Reddit?

Anxious to hear your opinions down below :)

Comments and Reactions

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    I'm going to disagree with you here. I think such a funny product from such a beloved brand like Reddit will make sales.

    Have a look at their stats – 13 million visits (not page views!) in June 09: http://siteanalytics.compete.com/reddit.com/?me...

    I might be one of the people that would buy it just for fun, and I'm sure many people would do too. It's a BACON soap!

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    I would smell it if someone I know owns it but that's it! :) I think it's a good move but not good enough to generate high sales! Remember: visits do not always translate into sales!

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    But that's reddit! They have many, many enthusiasts that swear by it! The Reddit soap article is on the first page of reddit since a few hours with 72 comments so far! http://www.reddit.com/r/reddit.com/comments/953...

    That's got to translate to sales – at least short-term!

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    Again! I don't agree! Sadly, there is no “got to” in these times we are living in! With the millions of products, sites, brands and services world wide in addition to the more aware consumers, it is really hard to predict the success of something based on past trends and successes!

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    Is there a doubt that Reddit's stats will fall this month? I think it's safe to say they can drive traffic to any page they want – especially if Reddit enthusiasts are backing it up. June is not that far in the past to be ineffective for predicting success.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    Reddit enthusiasts seem to me like a cult, a biased one if I may add… So yes, maybe for current Reddit users, this would work, but would it attract new loyal users?

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    How did you hear about this soap? Mashable.com – which as a recent article I read states have about 5 million page views per month. We wrote about it, another 5 or 6 blogs already re-blogged mashable's article, and it's been online for only 11 hours… FREE ADVERTISING! So, yes, it'll bring new users and act as a marketing campaign building Reddit's reputation of innovation.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    Mashable.com and others such as Techcrunch might and might not be free advertising! How could you be so sure? Plus, all hot topics get a massive amount of exposure but that does not, in anyway, guarantee success! Look at the many diggs many articles get on different blogs, do these show you any sign of an increase in sales? Or the number of users?

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    I'm not sure whether Mashable is paid blogging or not – but weird ideas do get attention – even the Microsoft IE8 “Puke” advert – that you wrote about last week – got attention, and it sucked!

    But how can we know how many soaps will Reddit sell to see if you or I win this argument? :)

  • http://twitter.com/stillsoul Tim Rees

    I wouldn't use bacon soap – my skin is far too sensitive!! :) – but I do love great marketing ideas. There are creatives out there who are simply brilliant at making a brand name or product stand out! Bacon soap? Not one of the great ideas, but it does tickle. One is forced to stop and look again, and that is the point. My current favourite marketing idea is comparethemeerkat.com as opposed to comparethemarket.com. Pure genius.

    How does the bacon soap affect my view of Reddit? Well, thanks to you writing about bacon soap I have now heard of Reddit, so I suppose that question answers itself! :) Great article, by the way. Your writing is buzzy, busy and dynamic. I like that.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    Yeah Microsoft's “Puke” ad! I hated it and still do! IE 8's image will forever be linked to puke! About who wins this argument, it's simple: maybe Mashable will “freely” advertise the sales Reddit made through the soap brand and we can then argue further! ;)

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    I agree with you that there are people out there with AMAZING ideas which humble the word creativity! I also agree that the bacon soap is not really one of them :)

    I'm glad you heard about Reddit through my post :) They should give me some credit for my free unintentional advertising! :)

    Finally, thank you for the compliments about my writing :) I'm really glad you enjoy it!

  • http://bambamworld.com/ bambamguest

    not really sure why but the first think that occurred to me after reading this is this marketing on the internet is about getting heard amongst all those voices and the louder the noise the more receptive the crowd is…. given that reddit is in the hype generation biz then what better way to generate hype than by creating, whether real or not, an absurd product for loyal fans of … bacon and i'm sure they are many :)
    so no direct financial gain may come from this but it works as marketing.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    @Amerkawar will not like it that you're siding with me on this :) Thanks for the feedback… I enjoyed reading it!

  • http://triplem.host.sk TripleM

    Well, you have a point here. I discussed the effect of monetize with Amer over the phone 2 month ago. The idea of creating goods under single brand might be appealing for certain type of people (users). It might be a good way to retain customers but not that good for gaining new ones.

    As for the Bacon soap its about creating controversy in order to get buzz and publicity running rampant for its brand.

    As for me( as a user), I'm not really into bacon soap, but I might end-up buying one, if they have it in much appealing flavour.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    So, most of the readers are siding with @beiruta! I would buy one – it's a great conversational topic. :)

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ FadiPick

    I like Reddit's alien, it makes the soap look good. I would definatly buy one, it would make me *think* better while taking my bath! Maybe in a way or another it would have such effect on me – I mean feeling the way I feel while browsing Reddit itself.

    But hey, most reddit crowd are Atheist, and they would want a soap with Reddit's alien as much as a christian would want a soap with a cross! It may become a sort of an identity to Reddittors.

    Anyway, whether the product proved to be successful in itself or not, I am sure the buzz around it would generate enough interest in Reddit. That is the pink cow, right Amer?

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    God Bless you! One of the few people that actually listen to what I say. It's the Purple Cow (link) – a term/book of Seth Godin about how to make your business “remarkable”. :)

  • stilesjp

    Hi Beirut,

    A couple of things you should know about the Reddit Alien soap. A) it's in conjunction with Soapier.com. My name is John, I am one of the co-owners of Soapier.com.

    B) The reason why Soapier was able to work with Reddit is because of this thread: http://www.reddit.com/comments/8s267/hi_reddit_... – Most pertinent information, you can find there. My handle on reddit is stilesjp.

    From there, the Reddit community has let us know what they WANT. A Reddit Alien soap, that not only comes in Bacon (since there is a bacon subreddit that has more than 5,000 subscribers), but they also voted on a fragrance they wanted, which ended up being Orange (you can read about that here: http://blog.reddit.com/2009/07/remember-family-...

    Is it a marketing ploy? Eh. It's what people asked for. Is it helping reddit? Absolutely. We've sold 500 bars so far, with Orange outselling Bacon by a 7% margin.

    Thanks for posting this article, but as you can see, the story has a few more layers than just a marketing ploy! All the best – John @ Soapier

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com Amer Kawar

    Thanks John @soapier – @beiruta, I guess I win the argument – Bacon soap really sells!

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