In working with teenagers, one should realize that it is a special stage in a person’s life, when the brain and body are in a special mode. The prefrontal cortex is still in the process of development, hormones are raging, something weird is happening to the body.
And this is all in addition to other features peculiar to our species. Such as the enormous amount of cognitive biases that determine our illogicality, and the maximum involvement of emotions in the formation of memory and the decision-making process.
The biological essence of our existence (is there any other, really?) is built on reproduction. Even the desire for survival is subject to this very desire to leave more offspring. Striving for status, risk, and much more—all more or less explicitly is rooted in reproduction.
But it is particularly during adolescence that we are faced with an increasing desire to reproduce without the ability to suppress this signal through awareness of the consequences. It comes later.
The moment an attractive woman pops up, the teenage boys’ brains go crazy. They are ready to increase the risk in their actions, trying to attract her attention.
I know that many people are still trying to make such things work to their brand’s advantage, but in direct use of the reproduction-related processes everything ends with the fact that people simply do not notice your brand. An attractive woman (or a guy) will be well remembered, while the brand will neither consciously nor unconsciously leave any particular trace in the brain.
As you can see, the last big brands have refused to directly appeal to reproduction. Not only there is no effect, but also the society no longer accepts such things. As a rather well-known saying goes, sex in advertising works only if you sell sex.
But there is always the opportunity to treat the theme of reproduction in a somewhat more veiled manner, while still picking up additional positive for yourself.
We must immediately point out that when we address the issue of reproduction and, moreover, create some competition, the testosterone level in men (and especially in male teenagers) increases. The increase in testosterone levels just leads to an increase in risky actions, thoughtless actions, and, in general, to “switching off” of conscious mind.
What tasks does it solve?
1. You get a new segment of the target audience. This segment is homogeneous and predictable (regardless of what the segment representatives are outside the context in which their testosterone level rises). If you do not know how you can avail of this segment yourself, “sell” it to those who know. There are enough brands that are targeted specifically to this segment;
2. With a high degree of efficiency, this segment can be “dragged” into other projects. Have you learnt to address that segment correctly? Monetize it on different platforms;
3. Do you need to shift the attention of the male representative from long-term goals to short-term ones? As it has been proved experimentally, in order to do this it is enough even to show an attractive woman’s photo.
Such experiments clearly show how not far enough we are from other representatives of the animal world who are ready even to sacrifice their lives for the sake of leaving offspring. An ordinary picture of an attractive woman—and our conscious mind “switches off”. Nature doesn’t care that it’s just a photo.
4. In this state, men tend to spend more money, as there appears the need to show their security and the ability to support their offspring. This feature has been studied in isolation from marketing. There is even a term called “conspicuous consumption”.
This is one of the important signals for women in choosing a partner, so from an evolutionary point of view conspicuous behavior can be justified. For example, studies show that women unconsciously evaluated differently the attractiveness of the same man driving a budget and an expensive car.
Now, we’ve cleared the issue of reproduction up. But working with teenagers can be done in many ways even without reproduction. We are a very social species. It is our main feature and our main advantage, which, like reproduction, has taken root in the most unexpected elements of human existence.
Sociality has as well reached our topic. We tend to copy others. This evolutionary feature enhances our chances of survival, and hence of offspring’s reproduction. Two in one: both sociality and reproduction.
It is reflected in the popularity of many products, applications, ideas. Because the prefrontal cortex is not fully developed in teenagers, the ability to resist following a trend and lack of experience lead to the fact that making something popular is the easiest to do among teenagers and children.
The question is only in a competent marketing strategy and building a quality choice architecture, so that the right choice will be made and rapid growth won’t end with a rapid fall.
As a conclusion, I’ll remind you of the need to observe ethical boundaries and think about the long-term brand development perspective. In the long term, abuse of unethical methods carries a serious negative for the brand itself.
Leon The Alien
SEE ALSO: Sales motivation
Images: Alexis Brown, giphy