Friday, September 03, 2004

Reaching the elusive audience

If you read the the advertising or marketing publications, there has been a recurring theme - that the 18-34 year old male has disappeared! AAAAAAH!

You can't reach them via television advertising, because they aren't watching TV. They don't really read newspapers, they get their news on the Internet, they play their video games at home while surfing porn on the Internet ... all the while, ignoring or missing out on the mainstream media's messages to buy this product or that product. Wired Magazine had a nice-sized article about the phenomenon, cutely titling it The Lost Boys.

So, what are the avenues that marketing people can take to reach this elusive audience? There's always the fun traveling campus shows, the tents of schwag that are handed out at the beginning of every semester. And, as noted in Mediaweek, publishers are trying to reach this niche by launching such magazines as National Geographic Traveler on Campus, SI on Campus, and GenZ, and MTV has brought out MTVu for the college crowd.

So, to my delight, I read about ManiaTV, the World's 1st Internet Television Network. Okay, here's the launch release, but it's very, very tongue-in-cheek (okay, it's cheesy).

Here's an Internet TV station that is launching to target college students - actually the target is 15 and older - and is launching at a time when almost all campuses are wired, all dorm rooms and fraternity / sorority houses have broadband access in each room. When I was at UA, I didn't have a TV at the dorm, because there really wasn't any room for one. We had a little one with a VCR and we were unable to get any channels (okay, this is in 1990, so cut me some slack).

I spoke with the very charming PR person over at ManiaTV - Christy Kruzick - to get some more information on the station. While she was able to give me some topline information, since the station does not launch until today, there isn't any demographic or traffic data yet.

If the Station / Web site turns out to be a success, it's a great venue to reach that elusive audience. There are links for advertising, and the variety of shows is pretty widereaching.

For us in public relations (marcom, now, according to Jack), the nice thing is that the shows are open to PR pitches. While watching the previews, if you have a mainstream consumer product, there are tons of great opportunities for the client. Or, if you have an event, what could it hurt to include the hosts of certain shows with press credentials? I already have a few ideas for upcoming events that I would like to include the ManiaTV kids at, but that's not for a few months ...

It is an idea whose time might have come. ManiaTV may be a success, and possibly the first of many Internet stations (which I always thought was going to be the AOL Broadband strategy).
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