Yuva Marketing - Marketing to Youth

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 3495 , Published on 19 December 2012

The other day as I was flipping through TV channels (a rare opportunity in a b-school), I came across this new Tata Docomo advert. Just when I was about to change the channel, the screen went blank with the line “Hate Incomplete Stories?”And I not only liked what followed later but also appreciated their strategy: to add that “masala” element in their ads to arouse curiosity and grasp attention.

The new series of Flipkart ads took the entire advertising industry by storm. Their portrayal of stereotyped Indian working men who are forgetful, impatient, orthodox and most importantly “one among us” made everybody sit up, notice & enjoy the ads; not frantically run for the remote or yell “Mute” .

Recounting all those marketing initiatives that touch the sensitive chord (considering myself to be youth though), I tried to take a closer look at what is that it takes to make it work. We shall particularly focus on TV ads as they are presently the largest interest by all big brands. Also, because digital advertising is more ‘customized’ as explained below.

But before that, if you ask “Why only youth?” it is because this segment is the most challenging, dicey, unpredictable and intriguing segment. So much that a new term “youth marketing” has evolved to represent a wide group of 18-34.

Challenges faced in marketing to youth:

Modified modes of entertainment:

Television today stands up to its nickname “Idiot box”. Youngsters today hardly watch T.V..Youtube , facebook, twitter &  the entire world wide web of networking, fun, gaming & learning replaced the earning for the remote control.

Mundane Overdose!

Plethora of products, barrage of brands and superabundance of ads make our everyday life more frustrating! A long day... Followed by terrible traffic.. Hoping to get a much-deserved break, you turn on the T.V. and then, like a fired cannon thousands of ads (specially meaningless & stupid ones) shoot at you. Familiar depressing feeling right?

The rage that is kolaveri di

‘Kolaveri Di’ was the biggest hit of recent times. Thanks to Viral Marketing. And what made it happen? ‘A’ told ‘B’ to check that video and then B so loved it that he posted on C’s wall & so on.

On a lazy Sunday afternoon, you decide to catch up on a recent higly melodramatic movie. The best way to know if it works for you or not is to log in to your facebook account. Original and honest opinions from your “friends” fill up your news feed.

What clicked in both the scenarios was “Credibility” , an element hard to test in a “larger-than-life” ad. A recent article in McKinsey quaterly talks about influence of WoM (word of mouth) from friends,family and peers, especially in developing countries.

People today, are “cash-rich- time-poor”. They do not mind shelling out few extra pennies for something that meets or exceeds their expectations. Yet they lack time to go through “looking out for possible alternatives, evaluating pros and cons & then zeroing on the best” (like a typical purchase-decision process). They would rather make instant decisions based on the opinions popping up from trusted resources.

Though online ad spend is expected to grow by 54% as told by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB, TV adverts continue to remain the flavor of the season. And that is why broadcasters slammed TRAI for its new proposal to limit ad time. Even the government of India marked 40% of its TV ad budget on regional channels.

After all these aspects, we reach a point where in we say that online advertising is quite a “natural” process. Friends & peers make it viral owing to both good and bad aspects of an ad. Mobile advertising works best for those who barge into Dominos for a 1+1 offer or into a shoppers stop for 50% sale. Therefore digital advertising , though in its nascent stage, seems to be promising ffor products/brands or experiences that are already known.

However, for a new launch, rebranding etc, T.V. continues to dominate communication medium for the following reasons:

Awareness: The easiest way to create awareness for a new entry is to shout at the top of voice a zillion times & park itself in a corner of consumers mind.

Audio-visual experience: “Sensory” & “Semiotic” expressions must be a marketer’s forte when it comes to advertising. This can be possible only in T.V. ads as they try and enthrall the viewers with ‘emotional-connection’.

Residual memories: T.V. ads reinforce our purchase decisions when there is a later need for a product category.

Out of the myriad of products, let us try and understand those few which attracted the youth. The three segments that youth could be divided into are:

Teenagers: Just our of school and wanna-be-cool guys.

Grown-ups: Past-teenage and at a transition phase of professional life.

Professionals: Working men and women who just started their journeys to excellence.

We now arrive at the following ‘Age-Attitude’ matrix:

When Virgin mobile was launched in India, Richard Branson scaled the face of Hilton Towers for grand entry into market. It instantly connected with the crazy youth and that connection was further reinforced with its offerings like password protected messages folder. Virgin mobile traveled up the matrix to sit in “Restless-cum-Spoilt brats” segment because of its “hatke” ads which people haven’t forgotten even today.

Tata tea ‘jaago re’ campaign kicked pride & sense of responsibility into the minds of youth. They were portrayed as brands ambassadors of the nation. A whole new meaning of being “cool” was being responsible.

Raymond truly justifies its tagline when it says “The Complete Man”. The man is successful yet modest, busy yet always available, ambitious yet family oriented and a young yet complete man!

Lays kept us all on toes during the world cup time where it tested all its new flavors. Bingo used absolutely loud, dingy campaigns to make each one of us try it out Just Like That.

Nike and Harley Davidson are brands that people would give their right hand for; forget paying a premium.

These brands made it because they all had a story to tell. They enraptured the audience through their phenomenal ideas & how! They understood us and became one among us. They made campaigns not just informative but entertaining.

That is what made difference to the youth. The clutter needs to broken by the whip of fresh air. The brands should enjoy their age, appreciate their choices and walk along with them in their madness.  Newness that arouses curiosity, stories that bring a smile and excitement that pumps up the adrenaline. Relationships of Airtel, humor of Flipkart, sweet nothings of Diary Milk & quirkiness of Pepsi youngistaan will have an impact that will stay for years to come. On this note, I sign off to collect a courier from Flipkart.

This article has been authored by Sahiti Chintapalli from SIBM Bangalore.


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