I've seen a lot of stories in the news lately concerning marketing and its "evil" effects. The other week, CNNMoney.com reported the results of a Kaiser Family Foundation TV viewing study that associated junk-food ads to childhood obesity. And last week MSNBC reported on the controversy the new chic alcoholic beverage Spykes recently launched by Anheuser-Busch, has caused.
The two-ounce malted beverage, whose variety of flavors comes in nail-polish-size containers, has critics throwing their yellow flags. They’re enraged that the cutesy “bite-sized” flavor shots will generate too much teen appeal—with affordable prices, energy-boosting additives and an easily concealable-at-prom size. Anheuser-Busch assures that the drink targets adults as a means for the beer company to tap into the popular energy drink/alcohol trend that several other companies such as Red Bull and Highenergy Holdings already control. But still the critics point fingers.
But are marketers at fault? No.
A marketer’s job is to pitch a product to its target audience—whether age 15 or 50. If multiple age groups are attracted by the same thing (such as the taste of Spykes or Camel No. 9s chic appearance), it doesn’t mean the marketers had poor intentions or are ethically unsound.
With advertisements and brands displayed everywhere today—from clothes to online mediums and branded movies, kids are exposed to more than ever, not to mention that the Internet allows them to easily find whatever information they seek. Online mediums make it easier than ever to spread knowledge of your product and reach more people. But they also make it harder to target one specific audience, like those 21 and older in Spyke’s case.
Do you think marketers have an obligation to adapt their strategies so the wrong message isn’t delivered to kids and teens? What methods are marketers using today to better target their audience when so many view the same channels?