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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

Two Telling Stories

Thursday, January 19, 2006

It's been awhile since Not Prince Hamlet did anything with marketing. But two news stories from the last few weeks have caught my attention.

First, this story about an urban stealth marketing campaign employed by Sony to market its ' Playstation game consoles before Christmas. The campaign relied upon graffiti murals on the sides of urban buildings featuring wide-eyed kids riding the Playstation like a skateboard and cranking it like a jack-in-the-box. But there's no actual mention of Sony, and the product name is never once employed. So basically it's an ad disguised as a mural. Here's a quote from the story:


"Critics and supporters agree the campaign is designed to crack through the clutter of marketing that pervades daily life."

Clutter: marketing's worst enemy. With so many advertising messages out there, how does a marketer "crack through" all of it to get their advertising message heard? Simple: disguise the advertising message as something else, in this case a piece of hip urban art. It's no different than the full page ads you see in newpapers in magazines that are unrecognizeable as ads, unless you not the tiny "special advertising section" at the top or bottom of the page.

So take note: we are swimming in a sea of advertising messages that are created for the sole purpose of sneaking up on us, hoping that we don't recognize them as ads.

Next, a story out today says that advocacy groups are suing Nickelodeon and Kellogg (and their parent company Viacom--which also owns MTV and CBS) for their practices of marketing to kids. The suit points to the findings of a recent study showing that (surprise!) television advertisements play a large role in what children eat. And what gets advertised more than anything else on Saturday mornings and all the time on Nickelodeon, the kid-specific network? High sugar, high fat foods. And the childhood obesity rate in this country is skyrocketing.

NPH is not sure how he feels about this. I always like to see the huge media monoliths get whacked with a lawsuit, but the defense of this one seems pretty easy. I mean, more than marketing influence, isn't the parents' influence on what kids eat greater? I saw all those commercials when I was a kid; I wanted all the sugar cereals and the fatty snacks. It doesn't mean I got them. In fact, I never got them. And it's to that that I owe my lean physique today (ahem).

But kid advertising is different today. Now what parents are dealing with is a multi-million dollar industry that is ever developing psychologically sophisticated messages to aim at children. In those messages, parents are chumps and the only way to be cool and accepted by all the other kids your age is to have this stuff. It puts a bigger burden than ever on parents not only to regulate the amount of marketing messages their children are exposed to, but also (and more importantly) to subvert those messages with positive affirmations of children's worth, acceptance, and love-ability apart from possession and products.

Vive La Resistance!

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posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 7:10 AM

1 Comments:

Is the advertising getting smarter or are the parents getting weaker?

Frankly, being in charge of a child myself, I can know there's a lot of pressure and desire to have your kid be cool and to have your kid think you're a cool parent. But the bottom line is, you're in charge of this child's well being. You're in charge of not only raising a physically healthy child but also a mentally and emotionally healthy child. You are in charge of instilling character in your children and the best way to do that is by example. Monkey see, monkey do. It takes some balls but you have to stand up and be a real parent. You can't be you child's friend all the time, you have to teach them valuable lessons including, your character is far more telling than are the clothes you wear, the car you drive or the cereal you eat...oh and don't get fat because then people will really make fun of you. Kids are mean!
commented by Blogger Ryno, 2:07 PM  

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