The kids are alright, and so are their wallets
Tweens and teens live in the present - but not the same present as adults do. Recession, schmecession. Teen spending has bounced back, up 6 to 8 percent over last year, according to NPD Group. On what? The usual: fashion, lifestyle, music and fun.
Their interests may be no different than those of the generations that came before them, but the younger half of the Millennial Generation still think they're special, according to Neil Howe, cofounder of LifeCourse Associates, so marketers need to emphasize that. "They're energized. They think their entire generation will succeed," he says. "They want high tech and high touch."
Right now, it's original digital video content that meets teens' cravings.
Haute for Phones
The people of "Haute & Bothered" certainly have it both ways. The feuding fashion students in the second season of this original scripted Web series are competing for a chance to show their designs during Fashion Week in New York. When they're not sewing, fitting or draping, like all Millennials, they're glued to their phones, talking, texting, shooting photos and videos, affording the opportunity for plenty of close-ups of sponsor LG's Lotus Elite and Rumor Touch phones.
For one assignment, the catty students are charged with designing a garment to hold their most important fashion accessory - their LG phones, of course!
The weekly, 11-episode second season of the series premiered in May on AlloyTV (formerly teen.com), and its arrival was backed up with digital components from Alloy Media + Marketing's array of youth-oriented offerings, including banners, a quiz, video ads and some out-of-home in high schools on Alloy-owned Channel One.
"They approached us to provide an integrated solution and one-stop service," says Sean Horvath, Alloy's executive vice president of branded entertainment. Alloy originated the concept and also handled creative for the splash page, print ads and commercial spots associated with the show. "The main driver of the campaign was digital."
For LG, it was an opportunity to help develop the property from the script phase in order to get the right message to its target audience of 12-to-17-year-olds.
In addition to the webisodes, there's lots of additional Web content, including behind-the-scenes interviews and an interactive gaming environment that lets teens design their own fashions. A social media component lets fans sign up for mobile- and social-media alerts to keep them up to speed on the drama. They can text to enter a sweepstakes for an LG Chocolate Touch and a trip to New York City for Fashion Week.
While it's too early for results from this year's integrated campaign, the increased budget from season one to season two is an indication of LG's satisfaction. It's also a reflection of changing trends for online video. Says Horvath, "A year ago, a lot of webisodes [had] lower production values. This year, quality and sophistication of videos on [the] Web have gotten better both on production and technology."
Season one of "Haute & Bothered" garnered more than 9 million viewings, along with 250 million online impressions with a 17 percent click-through rate.
That's something to phone home about.
In a different kind of fashion statement, Converse brought together three diverse artists in a brand-exclusive collaboration. The centerpiece of the digital effort is "Three Artists. One Song," an original track featuring Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast, Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend and Kid Cudi.
The track became available for global download at converse.com and other authorized partner Web sites on July 7. In addition to collaborating on the track, each of the artists also participated in the creation of the music video, scheduled for a late-summer release. To stoke the fires, Converse posted three short films in which each of the artists reflects on his or her influences and creative vision.
The promotion, a collaboration between Converse, agency Anomaly and promotions firm Cornerstone, continues Converse's brand message of individuality and creativity on the Converse blog, where fans can find instructions on quirky crafts projects, such as a pinhole camera or a wallet from duct tape. They can also upload photos showing off their own projects, or browse profiles of featured creative types from around the world.
Cambio You Can Believe In
In Spanish, cambio means "change," and it's used to designate currency exchanges. Now, it's also the name of a new teen-oriented destination site that will encourage kids to exchange their money for advertisers' products.
Cambio, a joint venture between The Jonas Group, MGX Lab and AOL, plans a full launch on July 27. Its roster of tweenie favorites includes the Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato and Jordin Sparks. The site offers a mix of entertainment news ("Victoria Beckham Guest Stars on Spongebob!"), non-scripted reality shows ("Follow Nick to London, where he appears in a revival of Les Mis!"), original episodic programming and talk.
The initial advertiser is Clean & Clear, and in November, Bayer will sponsor "Cambio Cares," a series where teen stars help raise awareness of philanthropic causes. November is National Diabetes Month, and Nick Jonas is a spokesman for Bayer's diabetes care line. Ecommerce and product placement will likely be central elements of "Cambio Style," which will offer tips on looking good and shopping on a budget.
Ads are being sold by AOL Advertising, which promises to hook up brands with the stars' 4.5 million Facebook fans and 6 million Twitter followers. Another measure of their wattage: 1.7 million people tuned in to a live Webcast for the release of the latest Jonas Brothers album, and they left an average of 23,000 messages per minute.
If the site's advertisers can capture a tenth of that fervor, they'll be totally crushed out on Cambio.