WD World

Smells Like Tween Spirit

The tween years; an age of transition. I am currently blessed with one (cue the horror music).

I have to say, it isn’t all bad. My oldest daughter is a beautiful, smart, talented, strong-willed, opinionated, passionate young lady who is actually a pure joy, when she’s getting her way and I’m not talking, asking questions or embarrassing her.

I’ve been reflecting a great deal, lately, on what it is to have a tween girl in my house. What makes her tick? What does “that look” mean? How do I make it stop?

Not only that but, being in the advertising industry, I’ve become acutely aware of what is being marketed to my child and what isn’t. In the midst of this new transition, I have found myself asking, ”Where are all the deodorant ads?” For the love of all that is clean and deodorizing, someone please market deodorant to my tween!

You see, we’ve recently discovered that 5th grade is that magic time where deodorant becomes an absolute necessity. That said, we currently have a sad stick of deodorant floating around the house that has been defaced with duct tape and the words, “I HATE DEODORANT,” written in black Sharpie. Long story. Needless to say, deodorant doesn’t seem to be her thing, but I desperately need it to be.

I remember being her age and begging my mom to let me wear deodorant, shave my legs and dye my hair. That and, let’s face it, I just HAD to have “Electric Youth” perfume by Debbie Gibson (shudder). And why wouldn’t I? These products were practically flooding the marketplace back then and were heavily promoted on the airwaves and in publications. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was more than a genius 1990s Nirvana earworm.

And now, according to MarketingSherpa, the buying power of tweens today is estimated at more than $260 billion annually. How can marketers not capitalize on that statistic?

Bitterness aside and remaining steadfast in my quest to make deodorant cool again, I came across beinggirl.com, a P&G content site all about empowering girls to embrace this time in their life. Apparently this site has been around for a while, but I’m just now re-living this particular milestone, so if you’re me, there’s hope. It’s built with a tween/teen in mind, easy to navigate, speaks their language and, wouldn’t you know it, showcases all the P&G products a girl could need from here to infinity.

And now the lightbulb moment: my current content obsession comes full circle. Content marketing – it’s nothing new but it’s becoming more and more crucial in building loyalty, advocacy and breaking through the noise of battling brands.

Today, you have to get in front of the like-minded consumer with shared infinities in shared spaces. It’s not enough to determine channel positioning. You have to know a consumer enough to know what type of content will grab their attention, creating an organic environment where brand perception becomes everything the brand sets out to be. So why aren’t deodorant marketers saturating the mass media market with teen deodorant ads? Maybe they’re waiting to talk to a mom like me. Maybe it’s the way our kids seemingly skip the tween stage and go straight to adulthood these days. Maybe it’s because mass media isn’t what it was more than 25 years ago. Whatever it is, P&G caught my attention. The content was there, it spoke to me and now I owe P&G my first born.

Just kidding. Well, maybe just during the teen years. We can certainly work out a deal. If nothing else, let’s talk packaging redesigns; think duct tape.


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