Toronto Hydro plays matchmaker for lost socks

Focused on generating WOM among women, a microsite lets users post personals for single socks.

Rebates for energy-efficient laundry machines aren’t the most exciting thing in the world to market, especially when you’ve been extolling the virtues of water conservation for some years now, according to Tanya Bruckmueller-Wilson, media and public affairs consultant, Toronto Hydro. So this year, she decided to spice up the annual rebate campaign with the Toronto Lost Sock Exchange.
The web-only promo invites consumers to send Toronto Hydro the details of their lonely single sock, such as when and where it was worn, through the Lost Sock Exchange microsite (housed on TorontoHydro.com). In return, the utility will do its “best to match it with a compatible sock partner.”
So what’s the connection between lost socks and energy-efficient washing machines? It’s “loosely based on science,” Bruckmueller-Wilson jokes, explaining that manufacturers she interviewed indicated it was possible fewer socks would be lost in front-loading machines, which also happen to be more energy efficient.
The utility followed up with a Leger Marketing survey that found 14% of Torontonians don’t know where their lost socks end up, and one in five hold on to single socks forever.
The Lost Sock Exchange will mainly be promoted grassroots,
through online social outreach and neighbourhood mommy groups. Young families are a target, so the main focus is on WOM through women. Slated to run until the end of this month, the program may keep matching socks longer if it proves popular enough, Bruckmueller-Wilson says.