Saturday, November 20, 2004

:: adgruntie :: Kids as spokespeople

+ Teen recruits create word-of-mouth "buzz" to get peers hooked on new products. A worthwhile read. Discusses companies use of "teen influencers" and how they get them to spread the word about a product. Here's a bit from the article:
The Girl's Intelligence Agency, which provides boxes of promotional materials to organized slumber parties, promises that its girl agents are "dedicated to spreading the word on GIA-endorsed projects."

However, "we've also had clients suffer," said president Laura Groppe. "Word of mouth is word of mouth. It is its own power. We can say, 'Here is this movie, check it out,' but if they go and don't like it, believe me, they're text messaging their friends when they walk out of the theater and it can kill a movie.

"We have absolutely no control over who she tells or what she tells them. It's up to them if something has legs or not."

Likewise, "companies really have to stand for something teens care about," Boyd said. "Teens can spot fake from a mile away. Then word of mouth acts to the company's detriment."

If teens "find out later that someone recommended a product because they were getting paid, we'd think less not just of the product but the whole company," warned Jake Ferrigno, 18, an advanced marketing student at Lake Washington High School. "And maybe less of the person too. It's not good business ethics. It undermines the relationship between people."

To up their chances for positive chatter, marketers try to make teens feel special and personally attached to a product.

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