The interactions between teens and marketers are more complicated than they might seem at first. Gone are the days where there’s a one way transaction between the consumer and the seller, thanks to the internet. Technology has made a huge imprint in the marketing and consumer worlds. It allows access, for both sides, to view countless options and influences, whether they’re being recognized or not. Now a factor of manipulation has become prevalent and is mostly used by marketers.
In subtle ways advertisers have learned to get the consumer to actually do most of the work or them, while they still greatly profit! They’ve learned how to take the currency of “likes,” which teens give away and receive constantly, and turn them into actual money. Since the marketers have mastered this art Of manipulation, they hold the majority of the power in this system, but once teens become more educated, the demographic could gain some more power for themselves.
One of the main reasons manipulation has been so quickly mastered by marketers is due to the fact that teens are somewhat easy targets for most have disposable money, are easy to access, and follow popular trends. Disposable money’ means that the majority of teenagers don’t have to worry about scaling the importance of their money, which is what adults need to think about. Self supporting people have to care about bills that pay for the necessities of comfortable living, like electricity, heat, etc, while teens are free to use the money they have however they want, with little to no consequences.
Teens are very trend focused. Some blindly follow the labels of products, just because a certain logo is printed on them. “Beats by Drew” are an excellent example. Some of these headphones cost up to four-hundred dollars! Apple is also a huge company that seems to get money more for its logo than the actual product. An example of its impact was when the Apple watch was announced, tons of people were already set to buy it , even weeks before the release date (Paterson). Since technology has grown enormously, it has become one of the leading ways for advertisers to reach unsuspecting people, especially youths.
Studies have shown that the number of teens on the internet has grown up to 60% over the past five years (BIB Jeffery). This is due to a number of reasons. One is their busy schedule, with school plus extracurricular activities, leaving very little time for them to actually go out. Transportation is another issue. Fewer teens are driving themselves than in the past. “The percentage of American 17-year-olds with a license dropped from 69%-46%” (BIB Jeffery). These are just a few reasons why many teens are being driven online. Marketers have used the web to subtly influence the minds Of teenagers, with the help Of “likes”.
When teens “like” a page on any social media site, they are knowingly increasing the advertisers influence upon themselves. In a way, teens are marketing to themselves! Though money, for the teens, isn’t the prize, but rather admiration from their peers and recognition from even celebrities. An extreme example of this was the girl Kale Lynch, who spends 6 hours a day liking posts on social media sites that are related to the Hunger Games franchise. Her efforts were rewarded by some of her favorite stars tweeting her back, which got more attention form her peers, causing her to be liked even more (Rushmore).
The fact that teens follow the popular trend or the most “liked” person/thing contributes to why so many are ignorant to the manipulation that’s happening to them. Peer pressure and the desire to be liked, combined, are big factors to why this manipulation works so well. However, not all teens are ignorant and some have even been able to find a way to get real profit from the relationship, as well through pleasing their public and getting the attention of bigger, more popular people/ organizations. One example of this was the boy, Steven.
He started off his tube career by doing impressive skateboarding tricks. Soon skating companies noticed his increasing popularity with the public and offered him money/free equipment to Wear during his videos. Steven saw how he could take advantage of this situation, for he came from a family that needed actual money rather than “likes. ” Eventually he started to stray from his original video content to more risqué© videos that got a ton more views. (Rushmore) More views equals more sponsors which brings in more money.
All he had to do was sell out a little. Another example of an educated teen is Tyler Oakley. He is one of the most popular You-Tubers and even has his own fan base! One example was when he complained in a video about how Taco Bell didn’t give the option of a Cool Ranch Torrid flavored taco. Tyler had such a big influence that the Taco Bell company actually created a Cool Ranch Torrid flavored taco, increasing both of their likes. (Rushmore) The You Tube world has really given teens a chance to become more educated and systematic about how marketers work.