Yesterday while reading a case for my other marketing class, I had a pretty intense flashback to my childhood days. The case was about the launch of Game Boy Color and how Nintendo was trying to figure out which segment of the young population it would most profitably target. This simple thought spurred back memories of my childhood—and of course reminded me of the Nintendo 64 I so dearly adored. In addition, it put me in the customer insight mindset that was needed in order to initiate this blog entry.
Way back when I had no computer, I did not know what the internet was, really, and I certainly did not have a cell phone nor could I have ever imagined the things that one would be able to do with a typical handheld device. In a world with no iPhone, no MySpace (or for us “cool college crowd” Facebook), no YouTube, no DVDs, and certainly no internet prominence, there was a time where a different generation, The Baby Boomers, was the only thing markers knew.
Nowadays, we find ourselves in a consumer goods world striving for the affection of my Generation, Gen Y. We are blitzed with advertisements from the second our Blackberry’s alarm goes off, to the time we turn off our iPod stereo to call it a night. Companies who churn their ads towards targeting our generation have been doing so by means that would have been deemed unimaginable in the mid 90s (on a side note, I’m pretty positive my mom and dad still don’t know how to use a computer, much less the internet). However, as overwhelming as most of my peers find the ad frenzy of the new millennium, I feel that it is just the right thing to do with today’s attention deficit disorder-esque customer-base. We are on the internet just about everywhere we are, I know for a fact that I check my email on average probably ten or more times a day (during the school year). I would rather not try to put a statistical figure on my Facebook habits. Marketers know this. They thrive on it. Not to say that it’s highly effective, but it’s effective enough. For every couple ads I see online, I always see something that catches my attention. I feel that I am a very detail-oriented person, and I always pay close attention. Some of the best marketing campaigns I have ever witnessed have been in the form viral marketing. Companies know we are online—they know what we look at. While it’s nearly impossible for marketers to gather sufficient data about older folks, individuals my age or younger hand feed marketers data. The Facebook, MySpace profiles, YouTube videos, the Blogspot pages (not to mention the entries), and our browsing habits—all tracked and used.
Burger King used the subservient chicken. Nike has started issuing ankle insurance. All for creating buzz among the masses. The stereotype, in my mind is, that we are going to see a marketing campaign displaying a chicken who will at command, do anything you ask of it to do, then proceed to go out and buy a Burger King chicken sandwich sometime in the near future. Why? Because it is unlike anything any of us have ever seen before. The chicken is supposed to represent something. Our culture is always going to interpret it one way or another. Once when we do, we may succumb to admiration, which will ultimately lead to positive brand perceptions. We lash out, we desire more, and we rebel— the ways of teenagers nowadays can cause marketers tons of restless nights. That chicken was a symbol of ‘having things your way’ (the good ol’ Burger King motto). To some (or arguably most, depending on how you want to look at it), it was definitely more. They had been touched in a way unlike any other ad could possibly dream of. These are the essential truths—we look for a more meaningful message behind a marketing campaign, but we don’t want it to be cut and dry.
I for example love Nike’s viral marketing efforts. I am a huge Kobe Bryant fan, so their videos are pure euphoria to someone of my demographic.
Have I purchased the shoes? Not yet. Will I? Not sure. I have before, so I cannot say for sure that it will not happen again. However, Nike reached me and has created a loyalty that can’t be accomplished through the old school National TV ad. Know why? Because I rarely watch TV anymore. This is how the world has been turned upside down as of the last ten or so years. TV and radio won’t reach us anymore. You have got to keep up with the changing world of media and (insert horrible cliché) keep up with what’s cool.