Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Evolution of the Hoodie

The hoodie. A few years ago when hearing this word, you would have immediately thought of a sweatshirt with a hood to keep the cold, rain and wind off of you. Today, when hoodie is mentioned, it ignites feelings of injustice because people remember those who have been misunderstood and prejudged by this article of clothing. Treyvon Martin was one of the individuals who was misunderstood and prejudged in 2012.  Martin was walking home from the store wearing a hoodie and carrying a package of skittles in one pocket and an iced tea in the other. Due to him being prejudged by his “hoodie” and the color of his skin, he ultimately lost his life. This tragedy brought awareness towards the underlying racism that continues to persist in communities across the country.  Many people displayed their grief by recreating images of hoodies, an Arizona tea, and a bag of skittles and posting them on social media.
Recently, Oklahoma lawmakers announced they are considering passing a law that will prohibit wearing a hoodie in public places. While this act is meant to create a sense of safeness by not allowing individuals to hide their identity, the bigger issue is that the government is essentially taking away freedom of expression through dress. One might ask “Does wearing a hoodie mean that you are getting ready to do something illegal? Or, is wearing a hoodie so serious that the government needs to play such a large role in managing our daily lives”? While we cannot blame this issue on racism, it’s pretty clear that it is a large determining factor when dealing with this problem, rather we want to admit it or not.
How does wearing a hoodie or racism correlate with marketing? Understanding your audience and how/why they operate the way they do would be a much more effective way to manage future generations rather than create ways to simply block them out. In marketing, you must understand the consumer’s wants and needs; their way of thinking; the reasons they do the things that they do; and more. If you just create a general message for everyone, chances are, your target audience will not get reached and your marketing effort is less effective and costly for no reason! As a marketer, we set the trends, not follow them. You must be in tune with your audience at all times. 
Never Assume. Know.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Marketing for a Tobacco-Free Future

As cliché as this may sound, millennials are the future.  In the year 2000, 23 percent of the teenage population smoked cigarettes.  14 years later, the original 23 percent decreased to 9 percent. This decrease is significant but still not enough. Additionally, there are newer tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes that are still fueling this problem. The slightest things, such as seeing celebrities smoking, influence our youth population. These influences can extend past he simple things and can be blamed on peer pressure or even role models.
Not all teens take the time to do any research before putting harmful chemicals in their bodies.  On average, those that ingest harmful chemicals die 13 to 14 years earlier than nonsmokers.1   Smokers are prone to their skin aging faster, which means more wrinkles at an earlier age and for the generation of the “selfies”, it’s hard to believe my peers would feed into risking a greater probability of damaging their image. 
 An estimated 1.5 million packs of cigarettes are purchased for minors annually1, so adults are contributing 30 million cigarettes to young people that can’t even purchase cigarettes for themselves!  We as a population must do better.  It is believed that as generations progress, they are living longer; however, this will not be the case if our youth continue to experiment with harmful, dangerous, extremely addictive, and deadly tobacco products.
When you consider the implications of this harmful habit from a marketer’s standpoint, advertising against tobacco is working. At Advantage Communications Inc., we execute innovative ideas that bring awareness to the dangers of tobacco products and encourages users to quit through the award-winning Stamp Out Smoking campaign.  This campaign seeks to be culturally relevant in communicating the ills of tobacco. Over the years we have seen smoking rates for youth and women significantly decline.
 As marketers, we must evolve and continue to innovate in the public health space and innovative ideas that will encourage tobacco users to quit and encourage their peers that use tobacco products to quit as well.  We can create an anti-tobacco movement!

Written by Michael Frank Steele, Marketing Intern, Advantage Communications, Inc.