MSN announced last week that it will partner with WhatOnEarthIsGoingOn to create an online community for consumers who are interested in a variety of social issues and will be a place where brands can showcase their values to these connected users.
The whatonearthisgoingon.msn.com portal will utilize MSN’s existing user base to create an online community where they can learn about and act upon social issues. The site will then target these users with relevant marketing programs from “like-minded brands.”
WhatOnEarthIsGoingOn is a set of marketing initiatives proposed by Grey London’s former creative director David Alberts to create what he calls socially relevant brands. Alberts recently told Clickz News, “Nowadays, brands need to differentiate themselves through their values. Who you are as a brand is just as important to the consumer as what you make, or the services that you offer. Brands will be able to use this as a platform to demonstrate their values to consumers, and feel comfortable in doing so.”
Adding further to this theory, Gayle Troberman, head of branded entertainment at MSN has said, “There is no one place that consumers can come together to discuss socially relevant issues. This will enable us to harness the power of brands and bring together consumers and marketers with the right causes.”
MSN is no stranger to environmental causes. In July 2007, the firm sponsored the Live Earth series of international concerts in conjunction with the “Save Our Selves (SOS) – The Campaign for a Climate in Crisis” initiative. The concerts were shown on MSN, and according to the company, received a total of over 15 million video streams.
Alberts doesn’t see any reason why effective marketing and the promotion of good causes can’t go hand in hand. “We want brands to see a return on their investment, but why shouldn’t good messages be spread through good marketing? I love the fact that brands are doing well out of supporting good causes, and I think we should applaud that,” he said.
This new portal is currently still in development, but is due to be unveiled soon- we will keep you posted.
It will certainly be interesting to watch the success of this online community, to see if it is an area that MSN can really tap into and have as an advantage over Google and Yahoo!
Let us know what you think about this new project by MSN, by leaving a comment below.