Procter & Gamble Co., whose sponsorship and production of daytime TV dramas helped coin the term "soap operas," has pulled the plug after 77 years. Instead, the maker of Tide detergent, Ivory soap and Olay skincare is following its customers online with a big push on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
The last P&G-produced soap opera, "As The World Turns," went off the air in September. The show was the leading daytime soap for decades, but had lost some two-thirds of its audience at the end.
Over the years, P&G produced 20 soap operas for radio and TV. But ratings for daytime dramas have been sinking for years, as women, their target audience, increasingly moved into the workplace, switched to talk and reality shows, and spent more time using online media and social networking sites.
The "Smell like a Man, Man" commercials starring hunky former football player Isaiah Mustafa became a YouTube sensation, drawing tens of millions of views and spawning parodies such as one with Sesame Street's Grover, and generated another round of attention with Twitter questions that Mustafa answered in videos -- such as on ABC's Good Morning America when he suggested that President Barack Obama could improve standing with female voters by wearing only a towel and beginning speeches with "Hello, Ladies!"