Have you ever watched Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central? He is a daily case study on how to talk to teenagers and 20-somethings alike. He has the power to get his "nation," as he calls it, to rally behind him for whatever cause he chooses. Case in point, the WristStrong Bracelet. He recently broke his wrist and is now promoting wrist awareness through the purchase of a WristStrong Bracelet. The only rule is that you must surrender it to someone more famous then you. Pure Genius.
Another example is his gag on Wikipedia. He got his "nation" to go to the infamous website and edit the Elephant post so that it said that the population had tripled in Africa last year. For months after, both his wiki entry and the elephant post were locked by the administrators because of the resulting attack. You'd almost think that getting through to teens was easy based on how well he can connect with them.
Colbert Green Screen Challenge: made by a fan
His target audience loves his monologues lampooning this person or that person. They love his challenges that get people involved in the show like this one and this one. He has a venerable teen nerd army that he bends to his will.The best part is that those examples are just the tip of the iceberg.
Between Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, they can sway the opinion of many youngsters around North America.But how should the rest of the world go about it? Sure it works for Colbert and his team of writers but how about your average run-of-the-mill marketing person?
In my humble opinion, the Colberts and Stewarts of the world work because they thoroughly understand their audience. And I mean, thoroughly. I can't vouch for their research practices but whatever they are doing is working. All I can suggest is that you watch the show, just once. Even if you don't like it, you will be able to grasp why teens and 20-somethings are enthralled by it.
Marketers have their research and their man-on-the-street consumer interviews and many think that is enough. But after all that nonsense is done, we still get mediocre advertising that screams "We're trying to be cool!" Just look at my post on Walmart/Target yesterday. I know I am preaching to the choir about this issue but the fact remains that, like the quote says, "I know that half of my advertising dollars are wasted ... I just don't know which half."
I'll bet that a lot of the waste was meant for the youth demographic.
I know that everyone has seen great examples of consumer involvement with a brand. Does anyone have any favourites that they'd like to share?
Contributed by: Angus Gastle