For anyone trying to target Gen Y online marketing is critical. If you can get someone to come to your website then you can show them your product service the way you want for much longer than you can on TV, with less distraction.
An important part of online advertising other than banner ads etc. is a viral SNS (Social Network Service) such as Facebook, MySpace, Hi-5 etc. While Anderson Analytics Annual GenX2Z College survey showed Facebook overtaking MySpace in popularity among the 18-24 year old demo last year, we also saw that over half of them, especially the women, use multiple SNS. Therefore a good SNS campaign should not be limited to only Facebook or MySpace, but include both.
This week 4 movies targeting this demographic opened in theaters, “21″, Stop-Loss, Run Fat Boy Run, and Superhero Movie. “21″ and Superhero Movie are opening in more theaters than the other two.
From our work with GenZ2Z we know Gen Y likes humor/comedy, and that gambling is popular, cool and sexy. However we also know that Gen Y has not been very concerned about the war in Iraq. Therefore Stop-Loss is a bit of an underdog and is looking for a WOM lift. I have been paying special attention to how these movies are doing as all have an online SNS/Viral campaign of some sort including Facebook fan pages.
I actually think Stop-Loss has handled theirs particularly well, their site looks good, has good music and importantly, links to not only Facebook and MySpace, but also a mashup application which allows users to create their own movie trailers which they can then share with friends or upload to sites like Youtube. It’s important to engage Gen Y and give them ownership, and the mashup application is an attempt at this. Superhero Movie site is the worst, and has poor SEO to boot.
On Facebook three of the movies, Stop-Loss, 21, and Run Fat Boy Run all have applications to share with friends as well. 21 has a blackjack game you can enter and “play for your own glory or the glory of your school”. Run Fat Boy Run has a more “playable” game were you pop blisters on your foot, gross, but easy to play and memorable. The Sop-Loss application allows you to send an American flag to your friends.
I think here Stop-Loss could have done a better job perhaps. I think it may have been a mistake to not take a serious topic such as war/stop-loss more seriously. Sending an American flag to your friends might be cute for some, like the pirates vs. ninja requests. But Gen Y is savvier than you think, and I think if perhaps the Stop-Loss marketing team added in a political component, turning the Facebook application into a viral SNS petition that was automatically sent to your senator, this may have worked better? Haven’t seen any real serious applications on Facebook yet, but someone has to be first…
I asked Kimberly Pierce, director of not only Stop-Loss but before that Boys Don’t Cry (1999). She said “I am happy to say we are holding in the theaters and gaining an incredibly passionate and growing grass-roots following for the movie. Audiences are writing into our websites (SOUNDOFF, FACEBOOK, MYSPACE) passionate responses about the movie and its effect on them.
Soldiers and their families are saying it authentically portrays their lives (in combat and upon coming home); people with no connection to the military are saying it’s opening their eyes to something important that’s happening to the rest of America. And they are asking what they can do to help.
People DO care deeply about the soldiers, their families and the effect this conflict is having on them, and they are enjoying a story that brings them inside these relationships. We just have to keep connecting with them.”
I hope she’s right. It’s always nice to see youth take an interest in society and politics. However I conducted a quick poll today and Stop-Loss is still a distant third.
Perhaps this weekend and next it will pick up more viewers, as of today Saturday April 5 2008 6:00PM EST only 1% of 18-24 year olds on Facebook reported having seen Stop-Loss (compared to 14% for “21″). [Margin of error +/-6.58%]
It seems that those who want drama/action are going to 21, those who want comedy are going to both Superhero Movie and Run Fat Boy Run (there is considerable cross over between these two with many seeing both of these).
To Gen Y marketers out there, I think it’s important to look at what your competition is doing, but also try to think about how you can do things differently/better.