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OMO Detergent Is A Cross Between Internet Of Things & Foursquare Gone Wild

Unilever is experimenting with a promotion for their Omo Detergent product in Brazil. The brand is adding a GPS device as an additional ingredient to its two-pound detergent box which will trigger its promotion agency Bullet to track shoppers down from the supermarket to their front door.

While location-based social networks like Foursquare in the US are gaining traction, there is still a great percentage of Americans that are resistant to these type of apps  because of their infringement on privacy. Apparently, this is not as big a deal in Brazil. Or if it is, this promotion may just backfire.

Bordering in my estimation on "stalking," the campaign will be launched in early August, so there are not any results from folks that may be for or against this type of campaign. The promotion is based on consumers buying one of the GPS-implanted detergent boxes that alerts the brand's surveillance teams to track the buyer's every move -  from the grocery store shelf, to check-out, to the car, to the restroom to your home.

While we fight for our privacy rights with established social network like Facebook, its hard to understand how this type of marketing strategy could ever become mainstream.

According to AdAge, the campaign which will award consumers with a free video camera when they come knocking on their doors is part of Omo's larger marketing scheme called "Try Something New." This tagline and the brand's Web site will start documenting the details of the campaign, including a map with locations of where the winners live, their pictures and video footage of the marketing team tracking down the owners of the GPS detergent boxes.

Fernando FigueiredoFernando FigueiredoFifty Omo boxes implanted with the GPS devices have been scattered around Brazil, and Bullet's president Fernando Figueiredo has teams in 35 Brazilian cities ready to leap into action when a box is activated. The nearest team can reach the shopper's home "within hours or days," and if they're really close by, "they may get to your house as soon as you do," he said.

Once there, the teams have portable equipment that lets them go floor by floor in apartment buildings until they find the correct unit, he said.

Of course, Brazil has a high crime rate, and not everyone is going to open the door to strangers who claim to have been sent by a detergent company to offer a free video camera. Bullet has thought of that. If the team tracks a consumer to her home but he or she won't let them in, they can remotely activate a buzzer in the detergent box so that it starts beeping. And if the team takes too long to arrive, and the consumer has already opened the box to see if they are a winner, they 'll find, along with the GPS device and less detergent than expected, a note explaining the promotion and a phone number to call.

In addition to the expense roughly estimated at $1 million dollars, the risk factor in catching consumers unaware of the campaign could create push-back and negative versus positive publicity.  However, if it does become a success, who knows - perhaps, Foursquare will find a way to follow its "mayors" all over town with a GPS tracking device that reports their every move on a large JumboTron in Times Square, awarding them their 15 minutes of "location-based" fame!

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Ron Callari
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