They are certainly not an endangered species, but definitely quite a peculiar one! The young boys and men of today cannot be reached efficiently via the 30-second commercial anymore, instead they need to be engaged via the gaming route

“Highly unrestrained use of expletives, dark, and very funny” that was how one could describe the new animated satire “South Park” that debuted on VH1 in May. It’s totally different from what TV audiences in India have been used to.

Let’s take a look at some of the popular shows on TV. It used to be the “saas-bahu” ones, which have now given way to the sob-sagas of little girls and their sad tales. Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi ensured that most women were stuck to their TV sets during the time it was aired. Most of them are still there, this time teary-eyed for the girl in “Balika Vadhu” and other serials like it. The point is, look around on TV and mostly those are women who are being targeted and marketed to.

However, there is a segment that, for a long time, has been the most elusive to catch and market to. It’s the young boys & men. Where do we look for them? If statistics are to be believed, then this segment is the most elusive and hence the most desired. Young men are tuning out broadcast TV as they turn to games and the internet. About 22% of them watch TV, while more and more of them are spending their time on the internet. For years, NBC’s “The Tonight Show” was the biggest money maker on television – considering it had a huge fan following. Today, the ratings of the show have declined, albeit slightly – among the younger viewers – since lesser young men are watching it.

With lifestyles changing, people staying up late, TV channels are realizing that there is a market that has gone untapped for a long time and a lot of them are creating programs to suit this group – the young males. However, these are few and far in between. Today, almost every sitcom is female oriented. Male oriented programming is almost squeezed out of prime-time, save a few like the recently premiered “South Park”. Traditionally, big mass-advertisers have targeted women, because the sales of most are driven by women - who still do most of the household buying. However, the 18-34 year old male is today making his choices, forming brand loyalties, and cannot therefore be overlooked.

Life beyond 30
Many would vouch for the fact that life begins at 30. It’s time marketers took a cue from this one. You need to look beyond the 30-second-long TV commercials if you really want to reach out. TV used to be the coveted media, but the remote control changed it all. Then came the internet & fragmented the audience. Today, TV no longer caters to the mass audience and some companies have sensed it. Back in 2003, Coca Cola cut its TV ad spending by 10 percent and pumped the money into a totally new and unexpected new media – the video game! Advertising has followed consumers; so when the young viewers switched from TV to games like The Matrix Reloaded and Enter the Matrix – so did Coca Cola. Soon P&G and GM, the biggest advertisers of US, shifted too. They had found a way to catch the target audience – a way different from the 30-second TV commercial way!

It reached the white house boy
The elusive 18-34 year old male is touted as the “most intensely targeted subset of humans today”. He’s unique – doesn’t read much, doesn’t watch much TV either – but spends hours (15 hours every week) on playing games. Today, all brands big & small are rushing to showcase their goodies on video games, just to catch the attention of this elusive species! As per Microsoft, its Xbox live – a subscription service that allows consumers to download games, and a whole lot of other stuff – reaches more men aged 18-34 than The New York Times, ESPN. com or Men’s Health. Try to beat that!

Electronics Art (EA) recalls a time years ago when it used to pay companies to reproduce their logos on its games. Today big brands like Honda and McDonald’s are paying EA; not just that, hoards of them are on the wait list – to be included in the new games being developed and launched. Recently, Microsoft has entered into a deal with EA to provide live-in game advertising within games developed by EA that can be played with an Xbox 360 or a PC. One of the first to spot the trend, Microsoft didn’t waste time, and a few years back, it acquired Massive Incorporated for $200 or $300 million. It could smell a lot of advertising money coming its way. Google, for the first time, got left behind, but it woke up & soon made plans to acquire another upcoming gaming company – Adscape Media Ltd.     Read More....

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