Spring Break: Ignore At Your Own Risk
Mention the words “spring break” to marketers, and many turn up their noses, conjuring images of girls gone wild and underage drinking. Don’t let all the hype fool you. The overwhelming majority of these kids are acting responsibly and creating the memories of a lifetime. So catch them while you can, because once they hit their 20s, this group becomes more elusive than Mary-Kate and Ashley, until they settle down and become parents. By then, they’ve had plenty of time to pick a favorite shampoo, decide whether to become a Mac or a PC and buy a hybrid car.
So, speak to them. But make sure you do it right. They have the highest tolerance for invasion of privacy than any generation before them. They are savvy enough to know that marketers are tracking their digital journey and expect this information to be used to customize content around their needs. But, these connections have to be done correctly, or brands will get spanked in public. As easily as this group shares their lives with their 10,000 BFFs and “like” everything from rock bands to nail polish, they’re equally as quick to trash the brands that miss the mark.
This lesson is especially important if you’re planning to ask them to pay attention to you when they’re playing at Spring Break, surrounded by their peers and hungry for something to talk about. They all want to go home with a great story, so here are some tips on how to insert your brand into their highlight reel:
- Make it relevant. Give them something they can do or use right now, even if they won’t need you until later. The Army National Guard used a giant, inflatable
obstacle course to draw in Spring Breakers. They collected their information for later, knowing a hard-sell on the beach would get lost in the sand.
- Make it
mobile. They leave their hotel rooms with just two things: their key and their phone. This generation’s definition of “double fisting” is to have a beverage in one hand and
their cell in the other. They can check in, tweet, post, like and share without spilling a drop. Don’t show up at Spring Break without a mobile strategy.
- Make some noise. The more disruptive, edgy, or unusual, the better. This is not the place to bring your run-of-the-mill mall tour. This is the Super Bowl of millennial
marketing, the SXSW of college. Go big or go home.
- Make them the center of attention. According to MRI Doublebase2011, 45% of Millennials who
consider themselves to be leaders like to be, duh, the center of attention. For Spring Break marketers, that means activations should be all about “me, me, me.” Secret did a “get
spotted” campaign by distributing tattoos at the hotels. If the girls were caught wearing the tattoos at the night clubs, they won cool prizes on the spot.
- Make it trendy. Hotness is a powerful influencer for this group. If your brand takes advantage of an emerging trend, you’re golden. Need help picking a hot
trend? Work with an agency who is tapped into this segment, because getting it wrong could get you booted from the highlights reel into the out-takes trailer.
- Make it meaningful. Millennials believe that they can make a difference in the world, even during Spring Break. So, even when they’re having fun, brands can cut through the clutter with messaging and experiences that give them a sense of purpose. Why not give them a real reason to reuse their bath towel at the hotel? Hang up your towel, take a pic and upload. For every post, Environmentally Conscientious Brand X will donate Y to Z. Idea still available upon request. Any takers?