Companies market to college consumers

In a consumer-driven world, it is impossible to avoid marketing campaigns or advertisements targeted toward young adults. From clothing labels and billboards to TV commercials and product promotions on college campuses, students are swamped by various forms of marketing.

Advertisements have been targeting young adults more aggressively in the past several years. Some students question if campaigns effectively influence college-age consumers.

“A lot of commercials don’t mean much to college kids because all they are really into is clothes and music,” sophomore Deron Fevers said.

However, Fevers said some marketing tactics, such ads that use Hip Hop and popular music are affective.

“When you see a music video and you go to school, they might have on the same outfit and you might say you want to get that because it looks cool,” Fevers said.

Barry Solomon, associate professor of communication at Florida State, said the demographic of men ages 18 to 34 has gradually diminished in the past 10 years. He said since men are typically playing video games, using the Internet and cable, advertisers are employing genuinely creative tactics to fight for their attention.

“Its a trend that’s causing concern, not only for networks, but for advertisers,” Solomon said. “Young men are more likely to play video games than young women.”

Women ages 18 to 34 are targeted differently than men. TV programs, such as “American Idol” and “The O.C.,” influence women to buy new products. Reality TV specifically reaches women because “men aren’t watching them,” Solomon said.

Companies have used trends such as music downloading and low-carb diets to reach young adults. Products such as the Apple I-Pod and Michelob Ultra beer have been successful in the demographic because they are innovative and distinct, according to Solomon.

However, Solomon said some advertisements fail to create differences between common products.

“All the promotion in the world is not going to make up for a bad product,” he said. “When you’re advertising and you’re one of a group and you don’t stand out, you run into problems.”

Solomon said the McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” advertising campaign might prove to be a failure.

“It’s very risky,” Solomon said. “There’s a de-emphasis on the food. There is more emphasis on lifestyle.”

Solomon said effective marketing could be positive for both the consumer and the company.

“It helps consumers identify differences in products because advertisers showcase different things,” Solomon said. “And the competitors have to deal with what is happening in the marketplace. It forces them to be more consumer responsive.”