July 20, 2006
    youth marketing: TV vs. Online

JunkfoodMarketing products such as McDonalds, Coca-Cola and potato crisps along with other food classified, rather uncouthly, such as “junk food” has come under a lot of pressure as of late including calls for banning soft drinks machines in schools. Many have blamed the growth of obese individuals, especially teenagers, on the consumption of “junk food” coupled with the new “thumb” generation (reference to game playing).

Television has been the prime medium for reaching kids and a report out by Kaiser Family Foundation suggests that “nearly all food marketers (85%) who aim television ads at kids also attempt to reach them online via branded Web sites”.

It goes on to site that “those sites might be far more captivating than TV ads”, according to the report, highlighting an important factor that even though "online advertising's reach isn't as broad as that of television, it's much deeper," according to Vicky Rideout, vice president and director of Kaiser's Program for the Study of Entertainment Media and Health, in a statement.

77 branded food Web sites were analyzed and found that 73% contained advergames with anywhere between 1 and 60 games online. Nearly a third used tell-a-friend to virally escalate their message. Other methods included promotions (65%), on-line TV ads (53%), incentives to buy the product (38%) but surprisingly only 25% offered some sort of membership. I say surprisingly, because of the impact on-line communities are having on the way marketing is now tackled.

The sites (53%) are becoming conscience of the need to inform or at least appear to inform their audience on nutrition and healthy eating (27%). Again I say appear to inform as companies need to go further – Phillip Morris (an example in another industry but blatantly targeting the same segment) dedicates almost their entire site to supplying information on the dangers of smoking and giving “useful” help on how to quit smoking – unfortunately it doesn’t stop them from applying dirty tactics and pursuing a continuous recruitment of adolescent potential consumers. Transparency is one of the main factors adolescents most treasure so the fact that only 18% clearly indicate that they carry advertisements is disappointing.

TV has received most of the brunt of criticism regarding their failure to promote a healthy lifestyle so companies marketing to this segment could take a real look at where they missed the point with TV ads and ensure that they don’t repeat the same error with on-line content. This new generation is astute and very aware with little or no time for brands that don’t deliver – they are not the brand loyal generation so many companies got used to in the past.

Posted by Nuno Machado Lopes in social media ,youth marketing
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