The globe's mightiest advertiser, Procter & Gamble, has embarked on what may in future be seen as a seminal marketing initiative.

The Cincinnati-headquartered giant this week announced plans to extend the offerings of its happy-housewifery website, Home Made Simple, to include music downloads at prices as low as 99 cents per five-song package.

The move is not seen as a profits-generator but as a site traffic driver with measurable spinoff for Home Made Simple's mix of home-care homilies and high-voltage product promotion.

The music download service, says Maurice Coffey, global associate marketing director for P&G Homecare, is not intended to make money. But glancing over his shoulder at the back-office beancounters, he hastily added: "What I hope is that I don't lose money on this."

The HMS site currently boasts 6 million registered subscribers and by the end of P&G's fiscal year in June 2007, Coffey hopes to have boosted that number to ten million.

Music downloading is a key component in reaching this goal. But Coffey also sees the new service as a move toward understanding how digital media can work for the HMS online loyalty program; likewise as a form of product integration with entertainment content.

Evoking the consumer experience he hopes to create, Coffey cites the promotional program currently run by coffee-house chain Starbucks: "You can buy a CD at Starbucks that kind of captures the experience of having coffee or going there. But you don't go to Starbucks to buy music."

Warming to his theme, he continued: "What I really want to explore ... once our consumer is used to that type of interaction with Home Made Simple ... is whether there other places where we can take her, whether it's converting [online editorial content] into something that can be downloaded or leveraging mobile technology, such as her cellphone."

Stimulated, perhaps, by the caffeine rush of emulating Starbucks, Coffey then veered into territory more usually occupied by Alan Ginsburg and other beat poets: "We could go there now, because others are, but our consumers aren't there yet, I don't think."

P&G's new program is a joint venture with music download specialist PassAlong Networks.

Data sourced from AdAge (USA); additional content by WARC staff