Want to reach a customer that communicates at hyper speed about your product? Want a loyal customer for life?
Target cheerleaders, football players and other popular teens and tweens and you could get just that.
Using cell phones, text messaging and email, these influencers can (and do) create product buzz overnight.
Marketers are discovering sampling and competitions are powerful ways to reach this market:
- Procter & Gamble hands out over 300,000 Secret deodorant sticks to cheerleaders
- Old Spice sends 100 samples of its aptly-named Red Zone body wash to 5,000 high-school football teams(that’s 100 samples per team, or 500,000 samples total
- Gatorade’s Propel hands out its fitness water at cheerleading camps
- Skintimate shaving cream sponsors cheerleading camp competitions – the winning team is the “Smooth Moves” champion
- CoverGirl holds makeover tours, where they give free makeovers and products to tween and teen girls
Some of these giveaways can cause a bit of a frenzy. According to CoverGirl company spokesperson Anitra Marsh:
The girls literally screamed at each camp when they learned they would get free CoverGirl makeovers and samples.
Of course, word of mouth and can kill a product overnight too, but the risk is worth it: teens and tweens are among the most brand loyal of demographic groups. Two-thirds of teens are brand loyal (Harris Interactive) and 60 percent 15-17 year olds remain with their bank after graduation and recommend it to friends (Forrester Research). And of course, children influence their parents and represent hundreds of billions of dollars in consumer spending.
So, is this just plain smart marketing—catching a customer when they are beginning to make life choices—or is it predatory?
Is it responsible or not?
Comment below to weigh in.
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The Seattle Times / Lori Shepler / TPN