Daddy, May I Borrow Some Money to Buy a New Car?
With so many brands cluttering the marketplace, it can be difficult to stand out. Many marketers have realized that it is much more beneficial to talk to consumers before brand loyalties have formed. It is easier to help form a brand loyalty with a product from scratch rather than try to convert an already brand loyal consumer, hence the emergence of youth marketing. Many marketers and advertisers have taken to nontraditional advertising strategies in order to get the word out about what they have to offer, before it’s too late.
A very popular effort in the youth marketing phenomenon can be seen with the Toyota Scion campaign. Ah, Sweet sixteen, the magical age when you receive your driver’s license. So why is Toyota marketing their boxy Scion vehicle to 8 – 15 year olds? Toyota has launched a new virtual promotional effort at Whyville.net. This website will lead you to an online interactive community populated by such youngsters. Toyota’s Scion campaign uses online video games and a virtual community to enhance product placement and solidify a brand presence. This effort hopes to influence car buying decisions and form brand loyalties with Toyota at a young age, which will hopefully remain through the years to the car-purchasing ages. Marketers know how influential children can be on their parent’s purchasing decisions; they also know that children will one day grow up to make purchasing decisions of their own. Whyville.net is relying on these two facts to measure its success. Other car companies like Cadillac and DaimlerChrysler have also employed marketing tactics, such as product placement in video games, aimed specifically at children.
Other efforts that would fall under this category of youth marketing strategies include when stores like Staples and Office Depot talk to high school students about products they will be using in college. Experts in youth marketing explain this business as early branding. The goal of the process is to form positive associations with products before the buying decisions are made. Given the economy, many consumers are putting more strategic thought into their spending habits… why not give them something positive to think about?
Do you think this type of early branding is a good strategy?
Contributed by Carrie Friedrich