Utilizing pop culture references, both past and present, may be one good way for collegiate marketers to capture the attention of media-saturated youths.
Continuing from my previous blog, in which I briefly examined some possibilities for youth marketing campaigns to tie-in popular culture references from the target group’s childhood, I will now discuss the present-day opportunities afforded companies interested in college advertising.
Thanks to the proliferation of computers and other electronics, as well as the rapid advances in technological hardware, popular culture today is a bigger treasure trove for youth marketing companies than ever before. College students are plugged into one gadget or another seemingly all the time, and this means that information spreads literally at the speed of light. Videos, memes, and all manner of content can go from unknown to popular around the globe practically overnight.
Of course, modern-day pop culture artifacts of all the types mentioned in my previous blog (television, movies, toys, games [electronic or otherwise], books, music [and music videos], events, even advertising itself) are worth exploiting for the purposes of collegiate promotions. But what are some new potentially productive artifacts?
A meme is defined as: “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” In the context of the Internet, it typically applies to a phrase or image (or combination of the two) that is widely known and can be easily cloned or altered to create new, often humorous, variants. The connection between advertising and memes is a two-way street: a preexisting meme can be incorporated into a new advertisement, but an advertisement can also become a meme. An example of the latter process would be Mastercard’s “For everything else, there’s Mastercard” campaign. This long-running ad series became so ingrained in the public consciousness that people began altering the slogan for their own purposes. College marketing campaigns can incorporate preexisting memes for some guaranteed recognition or try to create successful new ones.
User-created video content has secured a firm foothold in modern popular culture through Youtube and other video-sharing services. As with memes, youth marketing strategies could take two forms: advertisements that reference preexisting, popular videos, or an initiative to create new content promoting a given client and designed for maximum exposure/popularity. Naturally, the latter would be more difficult to pull off, but it could also pay greater dividends.