With TV struggling to hold onto the elusive youth market, alternative methods – including concert advertising – are coming into their own

Advertising to youth has long been a media obsession- agencies and advertisers treat the search for a way to effectively reach them as a search for the holy grail.

In the film Caddyshack, Chevy Chase suggests the best way to hit a golf ball is to “be the ball”. In much the same way the best media options are those that work on the same principle – be the target audience. What do they do? Where do they go? How and when can you reach them in a captive environment with minimal wastage?

Obviously the product itself, and who it will appeal to, will lead to a potential media environment in which to run the campaign.

So, what are the youth media options? In the mainstream, there is television, which, as has been much reported, is struggling to hold onto or talk directly to youth.

Niche channels such as MTV/VH1 and particularly BBC2 have successful programming stands for reaching youth, but where a volume audience is key, financial pressures make this an expensive audience for some television channels to supply and for advertisers to reach.

To extend the power of niche TV you need the press – particularly magazines – plus radio, cinema, posters and street advertising such as escalators or buses. It appears a balanced, focused multimedia schedule is the best solution.

This brings us on to the relatively new medium of advertising at concerts.

This would never be a standalone piece of media: it needs to be integrated within the overall communications mix. Individually, concerts do not generate large numbers, but they generate the right kind of response with no wastage and at a low capital cost.

There are a number of strategies that can be followed. Tours can be followed, as with the Boyzone tour for Quaker Sugar Puffs. The Boyzone/Honey Monster ad that had been created for TV was used, and it was premiered at the first concert of the group’s tour.

Alternatively, venues can be tracked from concert to concert as part of a regional strategy. You can adapt according to the group or type of music – for example, the ad for lingerie store Agent Provocateur should appeal to people who grow their hair, have tattoos, wear leather and are into heavy metal.

When the audience is captive, it’s a certain demographic target. A music reel interspersed with ads on a 50ft-cinema screen prior to the main film very much gets their attention. And as long as the ads are aimed at them, they will enjoy them as much as the overall reel.

There are two companies selling this concept – Cube TV and Blink TV. As you can see from the chart, advertising recall is pretty strong, but more importantly, the ads themselves seem to be the driving factor behind the memorability. So, get the concert right, get the message right and you have a very effective addition to an overall communication message.

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