Big Media Finds Its Way Into Teens’ Online Life
Last week, we discussed Wal-Mart’s effort to create a proprietary social networking site to market its teen apparel offerings (see WalMartSpace.com?,
RetailWire 7/21/06). Many expressed their belief that, as teens spend more of their lives online, the companies who successfully discover and implement effective online strategies
to attract them stand to reap huge rewards. An article in CNNMoney.com profiles one company that has found a way to get big results for big media.
StreetWise, a marketing company specializing in teens and young adults, organizes a base of approximately 70,000 registered members to promote films, music and video games using a variety of means. Some StreetWise members post messages on popular social networking sites like MySpace.com and Facebook. Others get promotional “swag” and hit the streets, handing out hats, t-shirts, DVDs and CDs.
Ryan Okum, VP of Business Development at StreetWise, feels his company is partly responsible for the success of films such as “Little Man,” which was universally panned by critics but, surprisingly, finished second in the box office last week with $21.6 million in ticket sales.
“The movie had a great opening. It was a happy surprise for us that it beat Sony’s expectations,” Okum said.
Media companies must also walk the line when trying to market something without making it seem like they are jamming it down teens’ throats. Okum said that’s why Hollywood is increasingly turning to more viral, guerilla type campaigns. There are also new challenges. With more and more media companies trying to pitch their movies, music and games to teens online, there is a certain amount of clutter to break through.
But, the consensus is that TV and other forms of media just aren’t cutting it anymore when it comes to the teen and young adult market.
Says Michael Wilson, CEO of There, a web site where teens and young adults can create avatars to hang out in virtual worlds, “What’s happening with teens is that the distinction between their real lives and their online lives is blurring. Big companies are realizing that to reach teens you have to address that fact.”
Discussion Question: Can online and guerilla tactics that have been successful in marketing entertainment and media be applied to retail sectors, such
as apparel, food and personal electronics?