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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What Do Spam, Goldfish, & Tomato Juice Have in Common?  

Most people would not classify me as a spam freak. By spam freak, I mean someone that gets freaked out easily by or is overly concerned about spam. I often include my e-mail intact without spaces, brackets, or parentheses in posts, on facebook, or other online places. I should be more careful, but so far, I haven't experienced the negative effects of my non-caring attitude (knock on wood!).

That said... when I received a Facebook message in my inbox a couple of weeks ago from Kelly at Mr. Youth, I even surprised myself when my spam alert went off (who knew?) and I deleted it. The reason? The e-mail link was incorrect and went to a wrong site, causing me to feel as if the e-mail was a farce.

But, the non-spammy part of me couldn't just delete the message without jotting down Kelly's e-mail address and sending her a message, mentioning that if the message was not spam, that I'd love to be considered for the golden opportunity she wrote about! By golden, I mean Goldfish. And by Goldfish and I mean no other than Pepperidge Farm's Goldfish Crackers.... yumminess!

Immediately, I got an e-mail back from Kelly, confirming that spam—or our perception of it—isn't all it is shaped up to be and guarenteed that the opportunity she mentioned was not as fishy as it sounded... or fishier, but in a good way!

What in the world am I talking about? Pepperidge Farm's Fishful Thinking Program—a program that enlisted the help of mom bloggers and moms in social media to promote positive parenting. What? Promote positive parenting? Not promote the crackers? Yep! You heard me right. Mr. Youth and Pepperidge Farm are following Groundswell's advice to identify what their customer's "problem" is—or, as I prefer to call it, their "needs"—and are creating a strategy and building a community to provide information regarding that need. By providing customers with solutions to problems that they are concerned about, brands show how much they care about their customers and don't just care about the sell.

But, what "problem" or "need" are they speaking to? Goldfish Cracker purchasers typically have children between the ages of 6 and 12 and if I am anything like the rest of the demographic, I know that one of my greatest needs right now is developing, refining, and learning great parenting skills. So, Mr. Youth and Pepperidge Farm developed the Fishful Thinking program in collaboration with child psychologist Dr. Karen Reivich, the co-director of the Penn Resiliency Project and a research associate in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania and also the mother of four. The program centers around five ingredients of positive parenting and kicks off this weekend with a conference in White Plains, New York.

Ten faculty members... or moms... were selected to help build the Fishful Thinking and Positive Parenting program. 1,000 other moms will be chosen to participate in the program as well. I feel fortunate to have been selected as one of the faculty members. So, as soon as I return from my current vacay in St. George (southern Utah), I will be on my way with tomato juice in hand as I fly to the Big Apple. Why tomato juice? Honestly, I don't know. I only drink it while flying. Weird, huh? And, it just occurred to me that Goldfish Crackers would probably taste really good with tomato juice. Spam? Not so much!

I'll keep you posted on what I learn, more about the program, and how much fun I have in my favorite city in the world—New York City!

In the meantime, I'm interested in knowing how many of you prefer plain yellow/orange goldfish to the colored crackers?

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