At the AAAA conference yesterday, Facebook VP of Media Sales Mike Murphy spoke about successful sponsorships and referenced Target's "Brave New Dorm Room" group as a good example. (Search "Target" within Facebook and it should be the first result.) Target gives people tips, content, product sharing capabilities (compare wish-lists with your future roommate), and links to Target. The execution is nice, and—type-A design freak that I am—I would have loved this when I was in college. (I'm sure my roommates are thankful this application did not exist.) Cool idea.
Fast forward 24 hours to a Reuters article announcing that Wal-Mart is launching the identical program:
The world's largest retailer on Wednesday is launching the "Roommate Style Match" group on Facebook, a social networking site that has millions of college-age users, in the hopes of grabbing a larger chunk of back-to-school shopping dollars.Disappointing to see Wal-Mart following versus innovating once again. Should be interesting to see which group gets better traction, if any. Informal discussion with our interns indicated this wasn't topping their list of groups to use.
Facebook users who join the Wal-Mart group will be able to take a quiz to determine their decorating style and get a list of "recommended products" they can buy at Wal-Mart to mesh their style with their roommate's.