Anyone on Yahoo! this weekend probably saw the Huggies Baby Network banner. It was hard to miss based on its frequency and the close up of a woman's very pregnant tummy. As a father of a six-month-old, I'm the perfect target market for a diaper ad and, as a self-confessed nerd; I'm intrigued by the concept of an online "Baby Network."
The site tries to compete with BabyCenter. BabyCenter offers very intelligent e-mail newsletters that are customized to each parent from preconception through 24 months. The e-mails track development, share tips and serve up content from other community members. BabyCenter's main consumer-generated media components are a bulletin board and chat component. There is also e-commerce. I joined BabyCenter when we were pregnant with our first and I highly recommend this site.
The Huggies Baby Network design is great and it appears packed with content. Upon closer review, however, its goal is to be an also-ran. The site offers articles from content partners, including BabyCenter. The text of each article is on the site and each source is cited, but there are NO links back to the partner's site. Read: They don't get it and want to keep you on their site. The network has one or two interactive tools, but it really misses the consumer-generated media opportunity.
Parents these days are wired, toting cell phones, digital cameras and have most likely dipped their browsers into the blogosphere. Yet Huggies offers no blog (hint: pediatrician?! product experts?! baby book author?!). There is a photo album application, but they should host a gallery contest where proud parents can post pictures of their children and compete for a prize (free Huggies products of course). Child care podcasts might make those night feedings go more quickly (with headphones of course).
Adding consumer-generated media opportunities to the Huggies site would help differentiate it and give users a new reason to join and visit often.
Goofus goes to Huggies for trying to compete with BabyCenter by copying them. Gallant goes to BabyCenter for setting the standard.
This is also the perfect segue to congratulate BlogPulse CMO Pete Blackshaw and his wife on the birth of their TWINS! Everyone is doing great. The only problem is that Pete won't stop blogging from the hospital and they still have not named their babies.