Television

A lowdown on the Mtv Youth Marketing Forum

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The MTV Youth Marketing Forum promised a lot. For the first time, the naughty music channel decided to shift it away from its sinful commercial capital of India, Mumbai venue of two years, and hold it in India's neta-babu capital, Delhi. And apparently the response was relatively lukewarm. Nevertheless, the panel of speakers was of international caliber with bigwig marketing heads from multinational companies jawing away about how you should market to kids.

First off the blocks was the cool customer Ron Coughlin, the vice-president of Pepsi Cola International, who spoke about how Pepsi stays young generation after generation (I am sure a lot many more people would have popped by for a listen, had he spoken about the secret of "us people" - not silly bottles - staying young. Nevertheless, since he is not a plastic surgeon nor a sage with miraculous rejuvenation powers, he spoke about what he knows best: that is peddling coloured acidised sugared water.)

Swatch vice-president worldwide Julian Gould pontificated like the Pope next on successful marketing strategies that work across international boundaries. Timely advice but was anyone in the audience still awake? Yaaawwwwn!!!! Hasn't anyone read forecasting guru John Naisbitt who has predicted that large countries are likely to fission into smaller units, each with its own wants and needs. That nothing works equally well everywhere on a global stage; you have to go local or more precisely global. Better luck next time Monsieur Gould.

Malcom Hanlon, regional media director (Nokia), Zenith offered tips on how sagging brands can create excitement and catch the young consumers' fancy. We sure do know Nokia's success strategy: make cosmetic changes to make the their cell phones look real jazzy and lure the young who get bedazzled by the lure of the colour. MTV says that Hanlon actually spoke about Nokia's tack "of encouraging youth to discover new technologies is the only one of the ways that Nokia is connecting with people." Full-scale hype man! Take it easy folks!

Sony Computer Entertainment president Chris Deering followed with his thesis (and a major plug for his firm) on the extraordinary success of the Playstation. Let's cut through the flubber: isn' t the Playstation's success due to Sony's creation of mind-numbing, addictive, mind-capturing, and mind-draining games that hypnotically urge the kids - with their creepy sound and noises - to keep coming back and trying their hand at becoming victors in at least some imaginary world, if not the real one?) The youth can definitely do without the Playstation in their home...("Hey Son! Cut it Out with that noisy video game!!! Can't you see I have tonnes of office work left to be done" - how often have we heard that one from a worn out, overworked Dad .)

Asiacontent.com vice-president Paul Myers (hey are you not the same bloke from Asia Business News Online) spoke about how the Net can be used to capture the minds of kids. Surely there is no magic fix-it formula as it does not take too much - toss up some decent porn, some wacky noisy games or vulgar jokes on the Net and boy you have the kids chuckling like Beavis and Butthead. Jeez, why can't people keep life simple, why do they have to complicate even marketing. Probably that's the only way they will earn their hefty pay packets.

The Youth Marketing Forum 2000 gave the senior chaps at MTV and The Times of India to flaunt their stuff and inflate their egos. Namely, MTV chief Alex Kuruvilla, Times of India chief Arun Arora and finally MTV marketing director Vikram Raizada. Click on the following links if you want to go insane reading the rants of marketing to the youth. Have fun. Goodbye!!!! .

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