Monday, September 14, 2009

Cult of Celebrity and the Personal Experience

TV Squad writer Brad Trechak today wrote about a bad experience he had trying to take his niece to get an autograph of iCarly star Miranda Cosgrove. Like most adults who wander aimlessly into tween marketing, he was surprised by the number of people who walked away disappointed.

Honestly, how many parents have tried to get Hannah Montana tickets only to realize that they were a) wildly over priced and b) sold out faster the Stones?

Regardless, it caused me to wonder whether the autograph holds the same allure that it once did. I always thought about an autograph as a personal connection to the celebrity. Even if you buy an autograph rather than getting it yourself, the picture that you received was one time in that celebrity's hands.

But I'm not sure that matters anymore when you can follow, say, Ashley Tisdale on Twitter and hear about her life directly from her mobile phone. That's certainly better than buying a pre-signed picture that may nor may not have been signed by her (as opposed to being printed with her signature on it).

So, do we need to have our kids line up at the mall to see the latest teen sensation? Or do we just need to help our kids connect with their celebrity of choice in some other way?

Because as all parents know, you're not going to stop the cult of celebrity.

1 comment:

Outcroppings by Tony Loftis said...

Interesting thoughts Chuck. Here are a couple for you.

Because we have so many more channels to follow celebrities (Web pages, blogs and Twitter), our kids know more about their idols than we ever did. The abundance of information sources makes it harder for parents to channel our kids towards the artists we favor and gives kids a places to go to make up their own minds when it comes to which stars they want to follow and see live.

Speaking of channels, the other thing that has driven tween marketing is the proliferation of kids’s television programming. Once relegated to the three major networks on Saturday and Sunday mornings, kids-centered programming can now been on at least four cable channels in my house. Twenty years ago, networks did not have the space to run shows like Hannah Montana and iCarly everyday of the week, Heaven forbid anything cut into the soup operas, and those shows simply could not have gained the traction they have today.

Finally, what make tween marketing so powerful now is that kids have money and information to make independent buying decisions. Because tweens weren’t a big buying group, the networks didn’t have to provide a forum for advertisers to reach the tween audience. As we have given tweens more buying power, the networks have created more advertising platforms.