The first thing a visitor to the Nuk-USA site will notice is the huge popup window that won’t allow you to navigate the site until closing. It is pushing Nuk’s latest innovation: a sippy cup, the Ultimate Learning Cup, that ages with your child. Basically, it’s a cup bottom with four age-appropriate tops.
Upon closing, the site’s home page is dominated by something any new parent finds happiness in: a sleeping baby on the right; its baby-blue blanket is strewn across the site soothingly to provide a background.
The home page also features a string of small photos from newborn to 18+ months; scroll over the picture and it shows an image of an age-appropriate product. Each links to a page with some information about the baby at that age: 18-24 monthers should be sipping drinks through straw, using baby fork and spoon, etc. The tips generally mention things that Nuk has related products for, but that must be pure coincidence, right?
Each of these pages of development information has a minor stab at capturing the audience of fathers who might be looking at the site as well. Nuk uses a neat trick to have the lower-right corner of these pages curl up, like a curled-up print page that wants to be turned. “Under” the front page is “Dad’s Corner,” which seems like a nice idea. To any dad that actually takes care of his kids at any point, it might as well be called “Dodo’s Corner,” because it is written with extremely basic information. The attempt to reach out with a little something for Dad may not insult most fathers, but the opportunity is there for any overly sensitive soul to feel insulted, especially after the site goes so hard after mothers throughout the rest of the site.
The international Website for Nuk, which is based in Germany, has four social-media sites – Twitter, Facebook, flickr, and YouTube – with prominent logos in the bottom left-hand corner of the home page. The group of logos have Experience Nuk on” above them to help entice the reader.
Curiously, the U.S. Website for Nuk only has two social-media sites –Twitter and Facebook -- linked to from its home page. And the links for these are smaller than those on the international site, have no introductory text, and are located in the upper-right of the home page. That combination gives it lower visibility than its international counterpart and makes it less attractive.
In Nuk’s homeland of Germany, its Twitter account has only slightly less than 350 followers, while Nuk USA’s tweets go out to more than 1,250 followers. The latter’s tweets include such things as “January is a great time to try new things. What new foods do you want your little one to try?” There are also plenty of tweeted solicitations and thank you's for submissions to one contest or another.
Nuk’s international Facebook page has more than 1,500 people who like it, but its USA version has more than six times that number with close to 9,400 “likes.”
The page understandably continues to target the mother, mentioning her often: “Because every moment between mother and child is special, moms trust NUK” reads one piece of copy.
The Wall of the Nuk USA Facebook page has a lot of photo submissions for Baby of the Month on it. In fact the whole site is overstuffed with baby images. Anyone needing to find babies for an advertising photo shoot should really look no further than this page or the slew of baby-image-stuff photo albums on the Facebook site as well.
The Facebook site also make sure to collect some information on consumers by offering the “Ultimate Giveaway,” which apparently is a $50 Babies ‘R Us gift card.
Other Social Media
The international site links to a Nuk YouTube page and a Nuk Flickr page. The videos found on YouTube features an endless stream of advice from a German midwife speaking (with an English overdub) about everything from what to do if you cannot produce enough milk for the baby to how to latch the baby properly to the breast.
Meanwhile, the very sweet and simple Flickr page from Nuk features images of the company’s snow-laden headquarters in Germany, various Nuk booths at difference conventions, and a bevy of midwives visiting the company’s headquarters.
While the company doesn’t really find any fancy, innovative ways to use social media or the Web, it does the basics well enough to foster its target audience into a community that is constantly changing. As kids age out of Nuk products, their mothers no longer need to find community through this venue. Nuk is constantly in need of new mothers. Luckily, the world seems to always provide.