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Advertising to the Fourteen-Year-Old Boy
By: Aaron Whitaker
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My son just turned fourteen about a month ago and if I want to talk to him, I know where he will be. He will either be in front of the family room TV in front of the family room computer. The only other place I ever find him is in his bed sleeping, but during the day I do believe he is seriously glued to either the TV or the computer just like many millions of other boys his age. So what are they doing and how do advertisers reach them?
When I was his age, you’d usually find my friends and I outside, playing basketball or riding our bikes. If you wanted to advertise to us, you’d do good to reach us while we’re watching network TV at night or while listening to the Top 40 radio stations. But if you want to reach my son, you’re not going to have much luck reaching him either of those ways. If you want to advertise to my son and his many online friends, then you’ll want to look to the gaming industry. Whether it’s online on the computer or on a gaming console like the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, teenage boys are addicted to video games. I know my son loves playing Minecraft on the computer and the Call of Duty series of games on his Xbox. He probably spends several hours each day playing and if we’d let him, he’d play during all his free time. But are there any opportunities for brands and businesses to advertise to kids like my son? I think the opportunities are there but they haven’t been fully tapped yet by brands and businesses.
I see brands eventually buying advertising space in the games themselves. While this has happened on a smaller scale with online games and mobile games, it hasn’t been fully tapped in major games like Call of Duty, Warcraft, Metal Gear Solid, Grand Theft Auto, and others. I think, in many ways, it could be a natural change as many of the games are going for realism and advertising is a normal part of most people’s worlds. Whether it’s billboards along the highway in the video games, a certain brand of car that the player drives, or a certain brand of clothing the main player wears, there are ample opportunities for brands and businesses to exist in the video game world. This could also be a great additional moneymaker for the video game makers.
While promotional tie-ins are common today with video games and video game systems, I think there is a lot more potential for advertising and marketing in the video game world. So if you want to sell something to my 14-year-old son or the millions of teenage boys like him, you might want to consider putting your product in the hands of his favorite video game characters. And when you do finally put your product into his video-game world, could you put a Post-it note on your product to remind him to take out the trash and clean his room? His parents will be very grateful to you and will be happy to purchase whatever product you are selling to him.

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About the Author
Aaron Whitaker is a copywriter, blogger, and social media aficionado who likes watching the TV commercials more than the actual shows. He prefers reading the magazine ads over the articles. And you can learn more about him online right here.
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