Cruisin’ with the Cool Kids: How Brands Target the Young and the Hip



Savvy brands have been taking advantage of the power of social media for years now. We’re now at a point where almost any brand you can think of is on Twitter publishing content for their fans to connect with.

Many people gleefully take the opportunity to opt-in to their favorite brands’ social circles. Their motivation is to be as in the know about their favorite brands’ activities as possible, as well as to share their own opinions with the brand and its followers. Yet there are some people, cooler than thou, popularly referred to as hipsters, who are famous for resisting any and all mainstream attempts to get at their wallet or even their attention.

So how do brands reach the unreachable? While some huge companies like Coca-Cola or Jack Daniel’s have developed such loyalty over the years that their customers want to advertise for them (usually in the form of clothing or even something more permanent, like a tattoo), other companies like Hendrick’s gin have a target market that is more resistant to traditional marketing. The efforts they take see them trying to “speak the language” of their target market. Where many beer brands market to a sports bar crowd during sporting events, Hendrick’s took a different approach with this marketing event.

Dubbed “Voyages into the Unusual,” the brand rewards its customers for “being different” right off the bat. What followed was a two-night event where “hundreds of Bostonians” were “invited to experience, taste, and observe weird, delightful things.”

Which hundreds of people were invited is unclear but I think it’s a safe bet that most of them don’t own a Coca-Cola t-shirt. Hendrick’s pandered to its hand-selected crowd of cool kids with classical/vintage style, live limerick writing, and tightrope walking.

As the FastCo article suggests, Hendrick’s “made itself an expert on hipster culture,” to get into the minds of its target audience.

But, what if a goofy carnival with free booze isn’t enough to get you on a certain brand-wagon? Catherine thinks Instagram and Snapchat are the ways brands will try to speak the same language as their “hip” targets. The rapid growth of these platforms and Twitter and Facebook’s increasing amount of image-based posts make this a good bet.

But what about consumers who bullishly resist any connection with brands? Ellen DeGeneres and Samsung are there to reassure you that you will be marketed to whether you want to recognize it as advertising or not. The Academy Awards selfie featuring a bunch of America’s favorite starts went super-viral and broke the record for number of retweets. Though the tech giant was not the point of the image, for those that saw it, it was there loud and clear. That selfie was taken on a Samsung phone. Ellen has a Samsung.

Here at Social Media Contractors we reach the unreachable in a different way. In fact, what we do might be more appropriately deemed getting the unreachable reached. We kind of specialize in “unsexy” brands. But we don’t dress up like Scooby Doo in order to make them seem more exciting. We get to know who our client is as a brand and where they want to be in their industry. We humanize them and consistently present high quality original content and well-curated sources. We get them firmly ensconced in the social media circles where they belong.



Reprinted by permission.

Image credit: CC by James


About the author: Dylan Thaemert

Dylan Thaemert is Social Engagement Manager at Social Media Contractors. He graduated from Loyola University Chicago, where he earned his B.A. in English, specializing in Creative Writing.

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