Tag archive for "television"

Marketing, Media

“Your Words Today” Campaign Promotes Hispanic Parental Engagement

   March 21 2011   5 Comments

According to a study conducted by the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, Hispanics who have gone to college rank their parents as being most influential in their decision to continue their schooling. However, more than 65% of Hispanic parents do not have the knowledge to guide their children as they seek to apply and enroll in college.

This challenge is at the center of a campaign sponsored by the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and The Ad Council, with creative by the Grupo Gallegos ad agency. The first spot, “Julian” captures a voice-over conversation between a mother who wants her son to attend college, and her son who wants to skip college to get a job so he can buy “new stuff” like a phone and a car. The commercial focuses on the reasons mom and son each give to support their position. Here’s the spot:

The real emotional wallop comes as we see the son’s future unfold and change during the conversation; his economic future tied to each potential path. Most striking is the briefcase that turns into a small ice cooler and back again, signifying that the real choice at stake is between a white-collar career or a blue-collar job. These are visuals that any parent can relate to, regardless of ethnicity or economic status. The commercial’s closing reminder, “Their tomorrow depends on your words today,” puts the responsibility squarely on the parent’s shoulders.

This is an extremely powerful message, executed in a way that effectively hits an emotional nerve. And like I mentioned earlier, although it was created for an Hispanic audience, the message really speaks to parents of any race or ethnicity. It’s a really touching commercial that effectively speaks to parents.

The campaign is supported with a fantastic website (www.yourwordstoday.org), which provides a number of resources for parents including information on planning and paying for college.

Education, Money

Financial Literacy Hits Prime Time with ABC’s Un-Broke

   May 29 2009   2 Comments

Here’s something for credit union youth marketing folks (or anyone interested in youth financial literacy):

ABC is airing a special tonight (May 29, 2009, 9p.m. ET) called Un-Broke. The special takes “an unconventional look at the fundamentals of everyday finance with all the facts about credit cards, mortgages, stocks and bonds, investing and 401k’s, in a fresh new format combining information and humor.”

The special features a great lineup of  celebrities, including the Jonas Brothers, Rosario Dawson, Will Smith, Cedric the Entertainer, Seth Green and Samuel L. Jackson, just to name a few. Here’s a clip:

Come on … the Jonas Brothers talking about money? Is there any doubt that interest in personal finance is at an all-time high? This should be exciting news for anyone involved with youth financial literacy. Tune in tonight and let me know what you think.


Tween King Zac Efron on SNL

   April 19 2009   0 Comments

For those of you who missed High School Musical’s Zac Efron’s debut on grown up TV, here’s a clip from his SNL gig. Great to see that he doesn’t take his role as king of tween media too seriously.


Our little Dora is growing up

   March 18 2009   0 Comments

There’s been a lot of buzz over the past month with Nickelodeon’s announcement they were introducing a tween version of Dora the Explorer. Most of it centered around the concern that squeeky-clean Dora, who is a role model to five-year old girls around the world, was going to get a Barbie makeover. There was even a greater fear that she would run in the same social circles as the Bratz characters.

Nickelodeon didn’t help matters when they issued a press release last month explaining the move.

“As tweenage Dora, our heroine has moved to the big city, attends middle school and has a whole new fashionable look. What’s more, she now has a rich online world in which girls can explore, play games, customize, and most importantly solve mysteries with Dora and her new friends.”

They released a teaser silhouette (see above), that seemed to suggest Dora would be trading in her signature walking shorts and t-shirt for a revealing mini-skirt. Obviously this had the Internet ablaze with accusations of selling out our kids and encouraging little girls to grow up too fast.

Potential PR problem for Nickelodeon? Hardly. They quickly released an actual rendering of the new tween Dora. Turns out that suggested mini-skirt was a tunic over leggings. All is well in Dora land once again.

I didn’t think for a second that Nickelodeon would do anything outrageous to their hallmark character. They’re too smart to jump aboard any bandwagon. And with literally hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, you can be sure they tested this concept thoroughly. They are simply following the first rule of youth marketing: stay relevant!

It’s common knowledge that kids typically outgrow their favorite characters. (On a side note: I thought this theme was addressed beautifully in the Toy Story movies by Pixar). Even the most popular youth franchises watch their audience walk away once they reach a certain age. Nickelodeon has addressed this by opening a door for Dora that not only extends play that is age appropriate, but also gives her character a more contemporary look.

The official roll out of the new Dora will be in September, and will be driven by a Dora Links fashion doll. According to Nickelodeon:

“By plugging the doll into the computer, girls can access an interactive online world. Girls will be able to explore Dora’s world, talk to the characters, earn currency, and help Dora solve mysteries which will be uploaded on a regular basis. The stories will have pro-social themes like volunteerism, water conservation, or planting trees to help the environment.”

Basically, Nickelodeon has designed Dora to grow up with her fans, without losing her core values. Brilliant!

Now, let’s just hope that Nickelodeon doesn’t get any bright ideas about a Hip Hop teen Diego (bling accessories sold separately).


Bring Back Ugly Betty

   February 11 2009   0 Comments

I just read that the ABC show, Ugly Betty has been put on hiatus and will probably be canceled. Why should this matter to us marketers? Well, besides rounding out my Thursday night viewing schedule, I’ve always thought Ugly Betty provided a unique look at cultural relations in America. OK, I admit that the show can be campy and a bit over-the-top, but have you ever seen a telenovela?

At the center of Ugly Betty is a balancing act that our heroine, Betty, engages in on a weekly basis. On one side, she’s a devoted second generation daughter of a Mexican immigrant. On the other side, she works in the glamorous world of American fashion. This sets up a basic clash of collectivistic culture (her Mexican roots) vs. individualistic culture (U.S. society). It’s no coincidence that the characters employed at the fashion magazine are portrayed as self-involved and materialistic, while Betty’s family is loving, caring and look after each other.

I admit that these characters are painted with very broad strokes, but at the heart of the writing is a simple statement: U.S. culture is based on the individual, while Hispanic culture is based on the group. The exaggerated caricatures simply move the comedy forward.

As marketers, if we understand these cultural differences, then we’re on the right track toward understanding why it’s important to form unique messages and strategies when dealing with different cultures. It’s a simple concept that many advertisers and marketing professionals forget (or choose to ignore). What works with one group may not translate and resonate with another.

In Betty’s world, it’s not language that matters, but the actions and strategies she utilizes to succeed. She is the perfect example of a typical bi-cultural Gen Yer. She possesses the ability to shift back and forth between traditions and attitudes of multiple cultures seamlessly. This fluid process of identity formation is referred to as Intraculturalism, and it’s extremely prevalent in today’s youth. Anyone with the goal of engaging consumers under 25 years old needs to understand this recent phenomenon, and determine the impact on their messaging and strategy.

The concept of intraculturalism is on display in every episode of Ugly Betty. Well, at least it was until ABC decided to pull the plug. It’s a shame. There aren’t many shows that are anchored by a female Hispanic character, and even less shows that accurately portray the role intraculturalism plays into today’s youth (sorry, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire never even came close). So if you haven’t seen Ugly Betty, pick up the DVD set or go to iTunes and purchase a few episodes. I think you’ll find it entertaining, a bit educational … and yes, even a bit over-the-top.

Education, Money

Kids + Money on HBO

   December 08 2008   1 Comment

This weekend I had a chance to watch Kids + Money, a new documentary on HBO. It’s a short film (30 minutes) that illustrates the role money plays in lives of young people in Los Angeles. I posted a trailer above. The film is a must-see for credit union youth marketing & education professionals (or anyone else involved with financial literacy). The film does a great job of exploring the money habits of today’s Gen Y. More importantly, it shines a light on the one thing many financial literacy programs overlook: the overwhelming effect of peer pressure and money.

For example, there’s Annika (12 yrs old), who describes a typical day at her school:

“At my school, you’re walking down the hallway, and you have like, fifty people just analyzing you and judging you based on your clothes. And everybody will kinda just stare you down if you’re wearing the wrong clothes, and if wearing the right clothes you just kinda get this look of approval like, OK.”

And then there’s Phoebe, 16 years old:

“In seventh grade, girls are wearing colored Louis Vuitton [bags] to carry their pencils. It doesn’t stop in high school. It doesn’t stop in your twenties. What car you drive, where you work, what kind of suit you’re wearing … it’s a whole image thing that Hollywood sort of forces you to try to fit into.”

Matthew, 17 years old, puts a whole different spin on the topic:

“It’s gotten to the point where race doesn’t matter anymore. It’s almost to the point where money is all that matters to some cliques and groups in schools. It’s a lot better than saying, oh, he’s black, he’s Mexican, he’s white, he’s Asian.”

After just a few minutes of watching Kids + Money, you may feel that your financial literacy outreach seems a bit inadequate against the pull of an Ed Hardy tank top or Abercrombie shopping spree. This inevitably raises the question: how can we help kids deal with this immense pressure to spend money?

I think we should engage younger members and be frank about the subject. We need to see the forces at work through their eyes and experiences.  We can only do this if we truly understand the trials our kids are going through to be accepted. The HBO documentary is an important first step in learning about these challenges. Focus groups and research can also help uncover the subject of financial peer pressure.

Credit unions are facing a generation that spends and consumes more than previous generation. It’s an accepted part of today’s youth culture. I think Annika put it best: “I only really get the feeling of needing something if somebody else wants it.”