THE “ADVERTISING” TOOLS & TECHNIQUES MARKETERS ARE USING TO INFLUENCE YOUNG CONSUMERS MAKES IT HARD TO SEPARATE ADVERTISING FROM CONTENT

Interview With Mary Maddever
Mary Maddever is the VP and Editorial Director for Playback, Strategy, Realscreen and Kidscreen Magazines as well as the new Canadian online magazine, Stream.

If anyone knows what advertising is anymore, please put up your hand.

Are the healthy eating suggestions on Buzzfeed, news, information or advertising? They introduce us to a variety of healthy recipes and then POW!, halfway through the listicle you get hit with a branded shopping list. Convenience? Coincidence, or paid sponsorship?

The YouTube star iJustine is passionate about all things Apple…Apple watches, iPads, MacBook Airs….advertising or brand passion? The Oreo cookie challenge on YouTuber channel, EvanTube – it says it's not advertising or a paid promotion but Evan’s contract is with Maker Studios (aka Disney) and Evan’s dad is all about building and monetizing Evan as a brand. Harsh? With 23million+ views on the video and over 2 million subscribers it’s hard not to be a tad skeptical.

Everything in media is being disrupted.

Content is heaving and morphing and if it’s crazy difficult for adults to figure out what paid content is, imagine the challenge for kids. The reality is, advertising as we know it – 30-second commercials, billboards, mall posters - is playing a much smaller role in the “buy-me” pressure on Gen Z and millenials.

Today’s influence toolbox is often cloaked in entertainment and is more experiential and relationship driven than the early years of product-rich commercials, making it harder for young people to see the advertising through the trees. Yet advertising is one of the great influences in a young person’s life, and it’s influence has been consistently documented across categories and cultures.

The business of Influence is changing and the traditional definition of advertising along with it.

Brand of Me will focus on the huge shift in advertising influence away from TV programs and toward personalities. Emotional advertising has always been called the top of the brand sell pyramid. Any time an advertiser can form an intense emotional bond with the consumer vs. selling them a litany of rational facts – it helps the company close the sale. The top of the pyramid these days brilliantly knits personalities with emotional selling, and hiring extroverted, pop-culture cool, YouTube-and-Instagram famous young people to sell to young people is like shooting fish in a barrel. Star power has always been one of the best selling tools, but the shift from the big screen to the YouTube screen represents one of the most significant advertising realignments since the introduction of TV.

Unfortunately for legacy advertising companies, the rise in digital video stars, aligns with the decline in traditional television viewing. At the same time, a new tier of ad-buying companies is rising from TV’s ashes. Influencer Marketing agencies, Influencer Marketplaces and Multi Channel Networks – represent the new version of social media celebrity marketing and it’s their job to maximize the commercial value of these young stars and connect young, emerging talent with brands. The result of this new matchmaking is an organic style of “testimonial” advertising, where youth sell to youth. When done right – this soft sell, minimally logo’d approach provides a compelling connection and emotional experience that makes advertising, according to InstaBrand, Influencer agency co-founder Felix LaHaye, a pleasure to experience.

But is Influencer marketing “business as usual”? Is advertising that’s cleverly masquerading as entertainment, cause for concern?

The kidsmediacentre sat down with youth media and advertising veteran, Mary Maddever, to discuss youth based advertising and the tools and techniques used to reach young consumers today. Mary is the VP and editorial director for Playback, Strategy, Realscreen and Kidscreen Magazines as well as the new Canadian online magazine, Stream.

Read Mary Maddever Interview Transcript - here.