I’ll soon be sending my son off to college and he has no real reading skills. Were college conducted as a videogame he’d be golden. Some college kids in journalism class, by a show of hands, have never read a newspaper. Magazines for teens, tweens and millennials…well you get my drift.
TV, computer and mobile phones are the media of choice for kids. Product placement on those screens is a viable investment for marketers. But product placement is a funny thing; it can be amazingly persuasive or it can fall flat. When well integrated into a story it’s a beautiful, ferociously effective selling tactic. Yet when slapped into a story without finesse, it just lies there like a stanky flip-flop. If a cast member of Gossip Girl drinks a bottle of Honest Tea, it’s “passive” and smart. When the Celebrity Apprentice builds a project around, say, a Maybelline cosmetic, it’s “active” and weak.
Forced product placement sticks out and everyone recognizes it. It just doesn’t feel right. As marketers we need to minimize that smelly flip-lop or we’ll alienate consumers young and not so.