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Can Sony's 'DigiDads' Blog Plan Avoid Scrutiny From The Feds?

Enough of the mommy-bloggers. Sony (NYSE: SNE) Electronics has launched a social media marketing campaign around blogging dads, according to AdAge. Dubbed the DigiDad project, the dads, which include marketing execs like Clickable’s Max Kalehoff and New Marketing Labs’ Chris Brogan, will get various gadgets and devices on loan and write up their experiences with them.

The goal is to create more than just a bunch of product reviews disguised as blog posts; Sony has tried to craft meaningful projects — like gathering 100 digital portraits, or using GPS-enabled video cameras to document a historical trip — that inspire the dads to write real stories. It’s the company’s first dad-focused social media campaign, though Sony has worked with mommy-bloggers before.

So how to keep the Feds from nosing around like they’ve begun to do with the mommy-bloggers?

First, the dads aren’t getting paid for the products, and they have to return them when the project’s finished. That’s not to say that mommy-bloggers all keep their products, either — but it’s easier to track items like digital cameras vs. food, toiletries or baby supplies. Sony also chose not to drive sales through affiliate retail ads on the blogs, though it’s not clear how or whether the posts will be branded as promotional content.

Marcy Cohen, senior manager of communications at Sony Electronics told AdAge that the bloggers would be treated “like journalists” — with the freedom to write reviews about the products as they saw fit. Success metrics include staples like the number of comments each post gets and mentions on Twitter, but it’s not exactly clear how the exposure that these DigiDads help generate for Sony will be any different than the buzz a mommy-blogger could generate for a brand like Kraft or Mercedes-Benz.