June 30, 2009

Visiting The Land Of Make-Believe

Today, once again, we visit the land of make-believe.

It's a land that is inhabited by a new species of human being. These new humans are very young and they're very different from us.
  • They don't use or believe traditional media.
  • They don't like to be marketed to.
  • They get their information online -- where they develop brand relationships and have conversations with and about brands.
  • They hate advertising.
If you want to reach this new species, you need to throw away all your stupid old assumptions about marketing and advertising.

Only one problem with this wonderful new place -- it exists only in the minds of a few web hustlers and their impressionable followers.

Here are some inconvenient facts:*
1. The current generation of teens watches more TV than any other generation in history. TV viewing among teens is up 6% in the last five years.

2. Teens spend less than half as much time on line as the average person.

3. Teens spend 1/3 less time watching online video than adults 25-34.

4. Teens do the following things more than average:
  • Read newspapers
  • Listen to radio
  • Like advertising
Facts seem to have a terrible habit of undermining everything we hear from the people who are constantly chirping at us about the land of make-believe. It might be a good idea to listen to some wise words from the Nielsen people who just released the facts quoted above:
"In media and marketing (there is a) frenetic quest to understand how teens use media, made murky by assumptions that teens somehow behave radically differently than their parents and other consumers....Our findings challenge a whole host of assumptions about the media habits of this generation — offering a few surprises as we separate myth from reality."
If you're looking to piss your advertising budget away, a really good idea is to ignore the facts and take a magic carpet ride to never, never land.

It's a land that has been dreamed up by a small coterie of online maniacs and gullible marketers who attend each other's conferences, and read each other's blogs and re-tweet each other's inanities.

Caveat emptor, baby.

*Nielsen: How Teens Use Media, June 2009. Special thanks to Michael Gass for alerting me to the study.

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