When Procter & Gamble’s candle business stopped going up in smoke, they developed Ivory soap for a somewhat upscale mass market. At that time, stores were not self-service. P&G was advertising Ivory, but when the consumer asked for it the clerk would substitute something with a higher profit margin. To get over this hurdle, P&G needed to connect directly with its customers. They did this by mailing samples and inviting women to become an Ivory “patroness.” The copy instructed the recipients to request Ivory soap. If the store declined to supply the brand, then the “patroness” should “demand Ivory specifically when shopping for soap and to reject any substitutes offered by their grocers.” (Rising Tide, 2004)
When supermarkets became standard and radio advertising readily available, Procter & Gamble no longer needed brand patronesses. With television, advertising was yet more effective.
Nearly 20 years ago, P&G realized that TV no longer was an effective vehicle:
1994: P&G: TV ADVERTISING IN DANGER REMEDY IS TO EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY http://adage.com/article/news/p-g-s-artzt-tv-advertising-danger-remedy-embrace-technology-return-program-ownership/87052/
The current paradigm shifts are again just as concerned with marketing as with markets. Similarly, a dialogue with consumers will be required. Today, that’s not going to happen through junk mail.