There's big money in teens!
From New Straits Times
HEY Mr Advertiser, if you hope to
be around a little bit longer, you'd better show us more respect and start
playing it smart - like Mel Gibson's character Nick Marshall in What Women Want.
In that movie, Nick, an advertising bigwig, finds out he has a "gift" - being
able to read women's minds and knowing what they really want. When it dawns on
him that women have a big say in what sells and what doesn't - from cosmetics
and sports apparel to cars and everything in between - Nick changes his
chauvinistic, gender-biased ways to suit the times.
Today, another shift has happened. And the new question that should be at the
top of advertisers' minds should be: "What do teens want?" Indeed, retailers
nowadays seem to have hit a diamond mine by zooming in on youths. Here are some
examples: RETAIL CHAIN (Fashion) BUMCITY, a speciality chain-store dedicated to
the lifestyle of today's youth, is a fine example of the retail industry paying
more attention to youths.
"Today's youth are definitely more fashion conscious and they want to stand out.
That's why our selection of merchandise caters specifically to their tastes -
from clothes to footwear, cosmetics to costume jewellery, gift items, even
mobile phone accessories," says Gan Mei Lian, marketing manager of Hing Yiap
Group, which owns BUMCITY.
"BUMCITY has been very successful among teenagers. Many go shopping at our
outlet in Genting Highlands.
"Due to this success, we plan to open more outlets nationwide." MUSIC "MUSIC, to
youths, is what poetry was to English society during the time of Shakespeare,"
says Sandy Monteiro, managing director of Universal Music.
"Youths need music and our company gives out about 1,000 CDs a month through
youth-oriented channels like Hitz.fm and Era for marketing purposes. A thousand
CDs cost a lot of money and we would not be doing this if there wasn't a big
market in young people," he said.
BOOKS WHAT do Charmed, Smallville and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have in common?
Besides being hit TV series, these are also titles on the MPH best-seller book
list for young people.
"It's a pop culture thing. In the past few years, there has definitely been an
increased demand for youth-based publications," says Renee Koh, assistant
marketing manager of MPH Bookstores.
"Local magazine publishers are going with the flow and are coming out with more
teen-based magazines like Seventeen, Female and Cleo. Compared to imported
magazines, these local publications are tailored to draw the younger consumers."
It seems that teens have become more book-savvy than ever, and they discuss
their latest reads with friends. As Koh says: "Teens are getting more varied in
their choice of books. A large number of teens read fiction and not just
magazines and comics, for example fantasy titles (think Harry Potter), romance
novels and even authors like V.C. Andrews." Since youths have such diversified
tastes, how can bookstores not sit up and pay attention? Says Koh: "We have some
promotions for books and also concepts which target youths, such as the MPH
Reading Group and Open Doors." TECHNOLOGY/TELECOMMUNICATIONS "FOUR years ago, it
was rare to see a teenager with a handphone. However in a recent survey called
Marco Polo, conducted by IDC, 72 per cent of students surveyed in Malaysia own a
mobile phone," says monitor, peripherals and services research analyst Lincoln
Lee of IDC, an IT market research and advisory firm.
"In this survey, IDC noted that youths are very high users of mobile
applications especially the short messaging service, accounting for 29 per cent
of users; multimedia messaging service (50 per cent); voicemail (26 per cent);
and ringtones download (36 per cent).
"IDC also found that 54 per cent of online gamers in Malaysia are students.
IDC's definition of online gaming is a game in which at least one component must
be played via the Internet.
"As newer technology replaces older ones, these older models will be more
affordable to the youth of today. IT companies too have been targeting youths in
their marketing efforts with increased advertising and promotions aimed at them.
"Epson used the movie Monster Inc as part of their promotions in 2001.
Young and trendy models are also featured on Nokia and Maxis advertisements.
"It is obvious that while the buying power will still remain with the
working-class consumer segment, more advertising and promotions are being
targeted at youths to lock in these future spenders." ADVERTISING AI SU SAH, a
Gen-X parent, scrimps and saves to make sure Junior can go for piano lessons and
still afford a cuppa at Starbucks after class.
David Tan of advertising firm Metafour CBSM explains the "Ai-Su-Sah" phenomenon.
"If such material things can help their kids fit in with the crowd, then they're
willing to give it to them. After all, what matters most to young people is
having a sense of belonging." Besides, he adds, "parents who spend more time at
work than with their children often try to compensate by increasing their pocket
money, making up for time lost." Think we young uns' are the only ones with peer
pressure? Think again.
Even parents succumb to this sense of inadequacy. If Encik Ismail next door gets
his son a new PlayStation 2, then there is no reason why their own son shouldn't
get one too.
"That's why the marketing people are tapping into this kiasu feeling, this sense
of inadequacy that parents feel - parents think that taking care of the material
needs would make up for any shortcomings," says Tan.
Smart marketing people have grabbed at this and come up with advertising that
gets the attention of youths.
"A leading fast-food chain plays the latest songs in all their outlets because
they know that youths appreciate music. "Another good example is the concept of
prepaid cards for handphone users - advertising efforts seem to have the younger
crowd in mind." CONCLUSION ISN'T it ironic that young people - who are not
earning a salary and are practically living off their pocket-money - have the
power to dictate the destiny of the market? Thank God we at the New Straits
Times have known all along how important you are, with this special pullout
meant for youths.
YouthQuake has been around for almost seven years now - and it's growing
stronger by the day, thanks to your support! Cool!