[CLICK ABOVE FOR PODCAST INTERVIEW ON THIS TOPIC]
Last spring, my son (15) shared some interesting news. The game he and his buddies play – Fortnite – got a new character feature that’s directly from the Avengers: Infinity War movie. In the game, he said, you can become the Thanos character from the movie and have all-dominant powers.
Then in the fall, the game maker pulled another coup. They started selling “skins” in Fortnite based on NFL and European soccer (football) league teams. You could put on your favorite team’s jersey and blast away within the Battle Royale playing field.
I was intrigued.
Around the same time, my daughter (10) took me aside and asked me if we could go to Bora Bora, Tahiti. My jaw dropped a bit. She’s not a geography obsessed fourth grader. I asked her how she got that idea. “One of the YouTubers I follow took a trip to Bora Bora and it looks awesome!” she said.
These two stories illustrated some very simple cross-platform advertising that’s been developed over decades by leading media companies and ad agencies. You’ve seen in movies, cereal boxes, TV shows and at sporting events. It’s classic cross-promotion.
It’s not a trick or a stunt. It’s just good old-fashioned American advertising. And, my kids know what’s up. I’ve been involved in the media and advertising industries for 23 years. We talk about this stuff.
My son understood that Marvel made a huge media ad buy to get the character into the game, and that all the memes he sees on Instagram with Thanos in Fortnite are just viral after-effects.
My daughter quickly caught on when I told her that the trip was probably sponsored by L’Oreal or Mac.
Kids aren’t stupid. They catch on to the schemes and implications quickly.
They may be addicted to video games and YouTube, but they’re not your average media consumer.
Their generation is perhaps the most granularly targeted demographic in the history of advertising, but they’ve got enough smarts to see things for what they are and question the motivations behind advertisers.
Youth Media Training and Advertising Overwhelm
The types of advertising strategies intrigue me, so I created a course that helps kids understand how the media works (everything from election cycles to psychological profiles and NLP).
Search Amazon for “Media Collusion” and you’ll see the book it’s based on. I wrote it. Peruse the table of contents to see the kinds of topics we cover.
Bottom line: I don’t want my kids or your children or grandchildren to get beaten up and taken advantage by the media and advertisers. I don’t want them to get media overwhelm, have irrational fears or buy things they don’t need.
And today, things are very complicated with digital marketing!
It’s weird. Most people say they’re not affected by advertising, but they believe everyone else is. The media tells us a story that the Russians swung the election, but we can’t find one friend that changed their vote because of Russian Facebook ads. What’s up with that?
It’s a very strange world we live in, and I’ve got some insider insights to help kids make sense of it.
Lifting the Veil, Clearing the Fog, Turning Off the Matrix
The whole idea is to offer kids a new way of thinking so they can challenge their teachers, head to college with a new lens for viewing media, and upgrade their lives by paying more attention to what makes them better people.
As they understand how the goals of digital media, print, broadcast, social media, advertising and influence groups are intertwined, they’ll be able to guide their life choices and make more aware, less emotionally driven decisions (decisions that are often crafted by people outside of their own intentions, aspirations and goals).
The course is kind of like one of those bring your dad to school days, but it’s on steroids. They’ll get serious analytical skills and ideas that are offered nowhere else outside the newsrooms and big Madison Avenue ad agencies.
The really cool thing is it’s information coming from another parent/leader within the community. As you know, teenagers don’t always pay attention when their parents or grandparents get on the soap box and offer up advice!
Feel free to check out the book or click around the site to check out the schedule, pricing and class location.
NOTE: This is an actual in-person class, with an actual paper pages, printed book. It’s not some Udemy course they can fake their way through. We’ll have certifications they can share on their college applications, too.
Excerpt from the new Amazon almost best-seller
Media Collusion: Journalism and Marketing Experts Share the Secrets of Sneaky Advertising, Targeted Persuasion, AI and Tracking, Political Deception and Coercion, and Dishonest News