Teens and college students are skipping or tuning out traditional advertising more and more, minimizing screens or muting the volume. Being able to be part of the content youth consume or even creating branded content is one way brands can make sure their product is seen, and advertisers are spending millions of dollars to ensure that happens. The problem, as our research shows, is that even when teens and college students do notice product placements, it doesn’t necessarily change their feelings about that product.
Product placement aimed at kids and teens is not new. Toy companies began placing their products on children’s TV shows back in the 1950s on programs like Romper Room, you might have noticed the queen bees of Gossip Girl using Verizon phones like the LG Chocolate, the orange EnV, or Motorola Krzr–all part of an integrated deal with the wireless carrier. For many marketers product placement remains a viable way to create brand awareness among young people–but with this generation having been marketed to on multiple screens pretty much since birth, does product placement even work?
The answer is yes, but not in the way marketers are hoping. We found that 72% of teens and 77% of college students notice product placement, and the top three products they notice on television shows are beverages, cell phones, and cars. But only one in seven report that those product placements have any effect on their perception of the brands.
But it turns out there is one “product” teens and college students say they not only notice but actively pursue: Web sites. 38% of teens and 26% of college students noticed Web sites in a TV show or movie. And 53% of them reported going online to check the site out.
So while we don’t have tangible evidence that the products youth notice most are having much of an impact, we do know that getting your Web site featured on a popular TV show or in a film is a great way to drive youth awareness, not to mention traffic. Maybe we’ll start seeing fewer soda cans on TV, and more characters playing a game on the soda maker’s Web site.
About Youth Pulse, Inc.
Ypulse is the leading authority on tweens, teens, collegians, and young adults, providing news, commentary, events, research & strategy. Our integrated platform comprises www.ypulse.com, a daily newsletter, conferences and an online research community: www.surveyu.com.