Youth and immersive marketing

Updated: May 31 2007, 05:30am hrs
The marketing world at large has been persistently luring the youth for years now. Marketers have invested studying this much-coveted consumer to the deepest depth possible. And while tracking their behaviour, needs, wants, likes and dislikes, one day the more persistent and sincere lot of them stumbled upon the magic word. This word they believed was their key to the world of youth.

This word, they thought, would trap this chameleon segment like never before. The word is entertainment. The prophecy went, entertainment was, is, and most certainly will be the raison d'tre for the youth. And boy, were they spot on!

Thus, started the entertainment revolution.

The cinema, the radio, the television, the mobile phone and the Internet were initially all about communicationmostly for news and propaganda. They all embraced entertainment. And as for those who didnt like the pager, the facsimile and the hand phonedo they even exist

For a while, it was fine. The marketers were happy to provide all the entertainment. The youth were happy and entertained. They were pretty much eating out of the marketers hands. But could it have stayed a fairytale for long No.

Soon, thanks to BPOs, KPOs and their healthy allowance, a big chunk of the youth segment ended up having fairly healthy disposable incomes. They suddenly had more money to blow on entertainment. In fact the limited number of entertainment channels available in the market was also not enough to whet their growing appetite.

With more money at their command, the youth started getting bored with the usual entertainment avenues. As a consequence, they started demanding more. The marketers started getting sleepless nights keeping pace with the youths changing ideas of what entertainment really meant to them. It was evolving fast from TV to movies to music to sports to gaming to chat rooms to blogs to raves and concerts to virtual life.

Tables turned. The marketers once well-trained, well-fed pet, the youth, turned into a demanding and impossible-to-satiate monster. This monster today controls the future of entertainment. He calls the shots. He decides how he wishes to be entertained.

Take a look at the way video gaming has evolved in India. Once upon a time the youth finished one and moved on to the next. But today theyve got sequels and open-source content. How long the game goes on is totally in their control and up to their individual wishes.

The same goes for television, cinema and the Internet. There was a time when the youth was the entertainee. Today they are an active part of the whole entertainment process. User-generated content is the market buzzword.

Todays youngster can now be a star, make a star, start a blog, read a blog, cast a pod, share a joke, share knowledge, share an idea and in doing all thischange the world. He or she can even cease to exist in the real world and lead a virtual life, where he or she can buy space on the moon, start their own community, cult, radio or television broadcast.

The marketers were right with putting their might behind entertainment. But, time has changed entertainment. Today, time is moving faster than ever. The youth is not just moving with time; the youth is moving time. They control time. They control evolution. They control you.

They decide.

Keep pace with them. Be them. Theres nothing else you can do, fellow marketers. And dont blame them. You started the fire.

The author is chairman and chief creative officer, CreativeLand Asia