Pomos listen to each other, and help sell products.

Pomos listen to each other, and help sell products.
In the Age of Participation, Postmoderns (Pomos) trust their experiences over the words of any “expert,” regardless of the field. A real expert, to the Postmodern mind, is anybody who has actually experienced the topic in question. Pomos lean on each other and trust each other, more so than any other western culture.

And now Madison Avenue is taking notice. I’ve previously discussed efforts by marketers to get involved in the social networking phenomenon, but here’s something even more interesting. Proctor & Gamble has made public a secret little (and brilliant) marketing scheme that it has had since 2001. Known as “Tremor,” the company has enlisted (read: bribed) teenagers across the country into helping sell products, and not just those of P&G. An interesting Forbes article notes that the kids, natural talkers, do the work without pay, not counting the coupons, product samples and the thrill of being something of an “insider.”

The effort grows out of a profound dissatisfaction among advertisers with conventional media, particularly network TV. Audiences are fragmented, and ever more viewers are using devices like TiVo to zap commercials. Teens, in particular, are maddeningly difficult to reach and influence through advertising, even though they are a consumer powerhouse that will spend $175 billion on products this year. When they do catch TV commercials or print ads, these jaded consumers often ignore the marketing message. Hence the emphasis on friendly chatter among peers to deliver targeted messages. “The mass-marketing model is dead,” says James Stengel, P&G’s global marketing officer. “This is the future.”
Valvoline, the motor oil company, is spending $1 million with P&G to promote its SynPower premium oil.
“This generation is much more influenced by peer behavior than baby boomers were,” says Walter Solomon, senior vice president at Valvoline. “If we can make an impression, it will have tremendous long-term effect.”
Most of the kids love it, and, of course, the stopper-doers of life are predictably looking aghast. In my view, this is a natural foray into the Postmodern culture, where self-identity is determined more by the tribe one selects than family or neighborhood. P&G’s selection process looks for those most likely to be outgoing members of their tribes, those willing to share products and services they deem as worthwhile.

This will certainly be an interesting trend to watch.

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