How Much is that Downy in the Window?


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Heard the one about the fabric softener and the sleepwalker? The punch line takes place in a department store.

Such is a synopsis of Procter & Gamble’s latest promotion of its Downy brand, an ambitious campaign that partners popular comedian and author Mike Birbiglia with Macy’s Inc. Called “Clean Sheet Week,” the campaign capitalizes on the results of a National Sleep Foundation 2010 Bedroom Poll (made possible from a grant by Downy), which shows 70 percent of respondents sleep better on freshly scented sheets.

What else to do but reach out and connect with Macy’s, the nation’s largest department store chain and a big seller of sheets? In its role, Macy’s will unveil Downy window displays in more than 200 stores, while workers at an additional 650 locations will hand out Downy samples and coupons to those who purchase sheets.

But that’s hardly entertaining. So the two companies enrolled Birbiglia, who has hilariously chronicled his rare sleeping disorder in pen and onstage, to demonstrate the power of clean sheets in public. He will spend one week, starting Jan. 26, living and sleeping in a display window at Macy’s flagship store at Herald Square.

This multi-entity campaign is an example of what we should come to expect from major companies such as P&G and Macy’s. P&G has long been an innovative marketer, an early tester of online communities and blogs, pop-up stores and on-the-road marketing campaigns. It is one decade into its “Connect + Develop” strategy, which links P&G’s own innovations to those of external talents, even those of competitors. Macy’s, meantime, has been a pioneer in private-label and exclusive branding since 1994, when the former Federated Department Stores acquired R.H. Macy’s, largely for its private label portfolio.

Fashionable and funny are not words one associates with Downy, and this partnership manages to do that. So more power to P&G. Here’s hoping that at end of seven nights Downy gets the last laugh, in the form of a sales lift.

Lisa Biank Fasig
Lisa leads the creation of editorials and feature stories for COLLOQUY and oversees the work of contributing editors and writers. With 18 years of reporting experience, most in business and specifically consumer behavior, she is highly skilled at researching data and teasing out the trends. A background in graphic design enables her to see ideas in three dimensions and tell the story visually.


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