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Marketing to Women Online
L'Oreal Gets Flashy

I had an entirely different post to write today - a nice, green focused, environmentally supportive post, but that will have to wait for another day.

In my travels around the net I discovered GMarketing Blog. The G stands for Guerrilla Marketing. Everyone knows what that is, right? For those who don't, check out the blog and its outstanding writers at the link above. There's a whole lot of useful information there, written by experts who were doing this long before I started (the marketing part, I mean.)

Here's why this is my post today - the most recent post written by "Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach Bea Fields, author of Millennial Leaders and President of Bea Fields Companies, Inc." has me worried. The post is focused on L'Oreal brand products and how the skin care company is engaging younger women. Here's a quote: "Loreal knows something that all savvy business owners know…that to stay alive, you HAVE to be willing to reach a younger market."Businesswomen_in_a_meeting

I have no bones with that, nor with any of the other content in Bea's post. She's the expert in the age group she's talking about...I'm just a baby boomer. But, here's the catch - this 'expert' in marketing actually recommends L'Oreal's FLASH website. She says, "...just check out Loreal's website...this ain't your grandmother's company any longer!"

Well, I beg to differ. The website is built in Flash...is it not user-friendly...the women it depicts are unrealistically beautiful...and I found no way to actually be engaged. It certainly is my grandmother's company. Only my grandmother would be able to buy products from L'Oreal if she tried to visit that website. I spent over 10 minutes trying to get into it and when I finally got to the homepage, it offered me a link to the US site, which I clicked. After several minutes (in Internet time minutes = hours), I was offered a confusing site with a black background (don't get me going on black backgrounds) with a text note in the center box that said, "Loading..."

So, I waited for it to load. And I waited. And I got tired of waiting and clicked a side link that opened up a new image in the box, which still said, "Loading." So, I gave up and went away. Mind you, I use L'Oreal products and will continue to use them. But, I will never visit their website again! And, if Bea thinks reaching out to some 17,000 college girls is engaging their consumer base, I have news for her. That's marketing...the old fashioned way. Let L'Oreal call me and talk blog or social media. The fact that they have a page on Facebook and MySpace...well, more advertising, IMHO. A bandwagon everyone is hopping on. Where is the real engagement? (Hmmm...a search on both sites did not turn up L'Oreal... so where are they hiding?)

Meanwhile, the link in the paragraph above goes to the Welcome USA homepage, I think. I do not know if it will work or not. Click at your own risk. The only link in Bea's post that I found useful, although it leads to another FLASH page (this one loads fairly quickly) is the one to L'Oreal's Brandstorm Competition. If you have college-aged kids, or are of college age, visit it and see what you think.

In closing, if you read this Bea, I tried to leave a comment on your post. Twice. Maybe it went through, maybe not. At my end, I was rewarded with "Error" both times.  I did manage to grab a trackback, but the "leave a reponse link" merely offered me the 'Leave A Reply' boxes that...did not work, as far as I can tell.

Comments

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Mary Schmidt

P.S. I got right into the site. Oh boy, an online ad - what will they think of next? But they should consider that some people have pop-ups disabled in their browser (as do I) in designing the navigation. And, if I want to find product info it should be - AT MOST - a two-click process.

I found the site boring.

Mary Schmidt

Yeah, us "oldsters" just can't grok cool stuff like Flash. Oh. Ah. Wow! Moving graphics! Sound! What will they think of next? Yawwnnnn...Flash is really old, old news in the Web world. Any real web pro will tell you that if you do use it, to do sosparingly and for the right reasons. And don't get me started on black background either (great if you're pitching a vampire flick, not so hot for anything else.)

Effective web sites mean being user friendly. And user friendly doesn't have to boring.

Further, some of the most creative,forward-thinking people I know are older than I am and I'm sliding into 50 this year.

Lisa Young

I really wonder about the agencies that pitch the bloated, flash websites as a way to really engage with the audience ... It's more like annoy your audience. Although Flash over Substance does seem in line with a beauty company's mantra.

Recent growth at my office has taken a big toll on our bandwidth. Now I know what people without broadband see and it's not pretty. Just like you, every click just gave me a box that says "Loading." Perhaps they gambled that people using the site will get so annoyed that they will develop deeper frown lines which cause them to buy skin products?

BTW: One of my clicks took me to the dermablend website. Clicking on the US site led me to a pretty straightforward shopping cart site with some added features like a tips section and even a page that asked you to share your story. This site isn't just skin deep. And that's exactly the way I feel about beauty.

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