Advertising to the Fourteen-Year-Old Boy.

My son just turned fourteen about a month ago and if I want to talk to him, I know where he will be. He will either be in front of the family room TV or in front of the family computer. The only other place I ever find him is in his bed sleeping but during the day, I do believe he is seriously glued to either the TV or the computer just like many millions of other boys his age. So what are they doing and how do advertisers reach them?

When I was his age, you’d usually find my friends and I outside, playing basketball or riding our bikes. If you wanted to advertise to us, you’d do good to reach us while we’re watching network TV at night or while listening to the top 40 radio stations. But if you want to reach my son, you’re not going to have much luck reaching him either of those ways. If you want to advertise to my son and his many online friends, then you’ll want to look at the gaming industry.  Whether it’s Online on the computer or on a gaming console like the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, teenage boys are addicted to video games. I know my son loves playing Minecraft on the computer and the Call of Duty series of games on his Xbox. He probably spends several hours each day playing and if we’d let him, he’d play during all his free time. But are there any opportunities for brands and businesses to advertise to kids like my son? I think the opportunities are there, but they haven’t been fully tapped yet by brands and businesses.



I see brands eventually buying advertising space in the games themselves. While this has happened on a smaller scale with online games and mobile games, it hasn’t been fully tapped with major games like Call of Duty, Warcraft, Metal Gear Solid, Grand Theft Auto and others. I think in many ways, it could be a natural change as many of the games are going for realism and advertising is a normal part of most people’s worlds. Whether it’s billboards along the highway in the video games, a certain brand of car that the player drives, or a certain brand of clothing the main player wears; there are ample opportunities for brands and businesses to exist in the video game world. This could also be a great additional moneymaker for the video game makers.


While promotional tie-ins are common today with video games and video game systems, I think there is a lot more potential in advertising and marketing in the video game world. So if you want to sell something to my 14-year-old son or the millions of teenage boys like him, you might want to consider putting your product in the hands of his favorite video game characters. And when you do finally put your product into his video game world, could you put a post-it note on your product to remind him to take out the trash and clean his room? His parents will be very grateful to you and will be happy to purchase whatever product you are selling to him.

Gorilla Marketing – Ads on Zoo Animals

Advertising on Elephants


No, it’s not a typo. It’s marketing on gorillas and other zoo animals. It was only a matter of time before someone put ads on zoo animals. If you think about it, hundreds of people stream through zoos every day throughout the world. And what do these visitors do? They stand and stare at the animals. Whether it’s an elephant or lion or giraffe or monkey, the people stand and watch the animals for seconds that turn into minutes that turn into a whole afternoon of staring at animals. You combine this behavior with the fact that most zoos are constantly trying to raise money to feed and care for the animals, putting ads on animals just made sense to Brazilian zoo director, Alejandro Estes.


“We were financially strained and looking for a steady income stream,” Estes said. “After watching a group of visitors watching one of our elephants playing with a tree trunk for almost twenty minutes, it dawned on me that the elephant would be a great billboard for advertisers.” Of course, some animals have more real estate than others for ads. There was also the problem of finding a paint or material to put on the animals that wouldn’t hurt them. “We contacted some paint and animal experts to help find an ink or paint that wouldn’t hurt or hinder the animals.” They ended up using a chalk-like paint that allows the skin of the animal to breathe and will wash away after a couple weeks.


So far they’ve found several businesses that want to advertise on their animals. Estes said that they wanted to find businesses that would compliment the animals. For instance, they found a large South American peanut company to advertise on the elephants. For the gorillas, they found a banana farming business to advertise on them. And for the lions, they are working out an advertising deal with an undisclosed sports car manufacturer. While Estes wouldn’t reveal the financial details of the ad  buys, he did state that it will increase the zoo’s budget quite significantly allowing them to purchase more animals which will give them more ad space to sell.







I’ve Got a Feeling

“The product doesn’t make the story, it complements the story”. That’s the line that kept going through my head last night when I was thinking about successful brands and how it’s less about the features and benefits of the product or brand and more about the feeling it brings or helps to bring to the customer.


The brands that I like and that I’m interested in are the ones who tap into my feelings and my right brain as opposed to my left brain. Whether it’s a cola or a shirt or a cell phone, they complement my life as opposed to driving it. Granted I care about features and benefits, but in the end, it’s the feeling that the brand evokes within me that will convert me from a shopper into a buyer. And if the brand is really good at selling feelings as opposed to benefits, I will become a fan or evangelist of the brand.


Of course in order for a brand to evoke feelings among consumers, it must take an active role in advertising and marketing. This could include radio commercials, print ads, billboards and TV but are more effective and easier to influence a customer’s feelings through digital marketing, like social media and customer relationship marketing programs. The brands that are great at building relationships and evoking passion among its consumers are the ones that spend time interacting with them Online and offline. They are the brands that are able to turn their customers into fans and ultimately evangelists of their brand.


So the next time you are strategizing on your brand or product, don’t think about the benefits or what differentiates your product from your competitor. Instead, think about the feelings that the product or brand and its benefits evoke or that you want them to evoke. For instance, a Hershey Kiss is not a piece of chocolate in a foil wrapper.  There’s actually dozens of different brands of chocolates that you can find in a foil wrapper. A Hershey’s Kiss is like a kiss on the cheek from your grandmother, it’s a moment of happiness complete with a smile at the end of a long day of work, it’s a feeling that millions of us love and love to share with others. So what types of feelings do your brand evoke and are you sharing this with your customers or are you just sharing the benefits and features of your product?


David Lynch Teams Up With…Dom Perignon?

I’m a big fan of David Lynch and his work. From Twin Peaks to Blue Velvet to Mulholland Drive; he has a very mysterious, dark and quirky vision to his movies. His work is definitely an acquired taste that doesn’t appeal to everyone, which is why I found it odd that he teamed up with Dom Perignon Champagne to create limited edition bottle designs for the fancy Champagne company.

While I think David Lynch would make a good ad man or spokesperson for certain products, it’s hard to picture him selling Dom Perignon Champagne. It would be interesting to talk to the agency or marketing team that came up with the idea of having David Lynch design limited edition bottles. The one thing David Lynch does for the brand is definitely attract new customers outside the Dom Perignon demographic. The one thing I would worry a little bit about if I was Dom Perignon is alienating their established customer base. You either love David Lynch’s work or hate it, and I don’t think of drinking fancy champagne while watching or discussing his film, Blue Velvet. I think red wine, bourbon or scotch would be more fitting for a discussion of his films.


I do have to say that the bottle designs are quite interesting and the video of the design process was intriguing and captured Lynch’s personality and style quite well. But as a David Lynch fan, would I go out and buy a bottle? I think it would make a great collector piece for a David Lynch fan, but I don’t think it will convert them into Dom Perignon customers. It will help to increase brand awareness and help the brand break out of its stereotypical mold of being too fancy for most commoners. If I were to choose a famous person or persons to design a Dom Perignon bottle, I would have gone with fashion icons like Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana or Donatella Versace rather than David Lynch. I think the big fashion designers are more in line with Dom Perignon’s demographic than David Lynch is.  I would of have also considered renowned artists, architects and designers before David Lynch. But as someone who appreciates what David Lynch has done for the cinematic world, I think it was an interesting collaboration that turned out quite well.

Chic-Fil-A Says Too Much!

The President of Chic-Fil-A created a social media firestorm this week when he told a Christian news site that the company does not support same-sex marriage. The company has always been known for its support of Christianity with the most obvious example being that they are closed on Sundays. But should brands be more wary of taking public stands on politicized issues like gay marriage?


With the elections coming up in November, I see the possibility of this scenario happening more often as some businesses throw their support towards one candidate or one issue over another. While everyone is entitled to their opinions in this democracy that we live in, for businesses it can be risky. In the Chic-Fil-A instance, the president of the company made a comment about the company’s stand on gay marriage to a Christian news site. It probably didn’t seem to be such a big deal on a Christian news site to state such an opinion, but with the power of the Internet and social media, it became a big deal. A business needs to understand that everything they say no matter in what situation and with what group can easily spread outside the context of the group and situation.

Crowd in support of Gay Marriage

The company did come out with a response on their Facebook page after the fire was blazing, but it was too little and too late to put out the fire. The reason their public stance on gay marriage spread so quickly throughout the social media sphere was that it’s a hot button topic. It fired up gay marriage supporters who hit Twitter and Facebook and other sites to voice their disapproval of Chic-Fil-A’s stance on the issue. As a result, many customers have supported the idea of boycotting the restaurant, as a result. I believe the company’s response was issued as a result of the threats of boycotts. But the response is not as newsworthy and viral for the social media sphere. The crowds are already stirred up and very passionate in voicing their disapproval, they aren’t going to settle down when a business throws out an obvious Band-Aid to quell the firestorm.


I will, however, say, that from the response, I do believe that Chic-Fil-A learned their lesson. In the response, they said, “Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.” For businesses that cater to large demographics that have many different political and social backgrounds, this is probably a good idea for any hot button issue no matter how passionate you and/or your business is about it.

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