Secret Agent Tweens on CBS; Shaping Youth Goes Undercover

cbsnews.gif“From books, to toys, to clothes to snacks. There’s a multi-billion dollar, global marketing machine targeting YOUR children. Our special series, Gotta Have It: The Hard Sell To Kids, begins Monday on the CBS Evening News.”

You can bet I’ll be tuning in for Shaping Youth’s purposes, though my guess is they’ll be talking about GIA (Girls Intelligence Agency), the slumber party recruitment tactics targeting tweens to spread viral word on products leveraging peer to peer trust.

Maybe CBS is covering Tremor, Proctor & Gamble’s teen WOMM (word of mouth) gig tapping into kids’ desire to be “first to know”. (in fairness to parents, these subversive guerilla tactics are used for nonprofit partnerships too, like getting kids’ input for the DrugFree America website design, and there are assoc. org standards etc.)

Either way, little do they know…I’m already on it, and embedded as an undercover mole!

Our Shaping Youth team is spread out among BOTH Procter & Gamble’s viral efforts targeting teens and moms to hawk their products.

Guess I’ve seen too many Bourne Identity flicks, or my dad’s career in Naval Intelligence rubbed off on me, but hey, as a counter-marketing queen, I think it’s only fair to keep parents once step ahead of the marketing machine whenever possible, just to spot the spin!

Here’s the latest ‘inside tip’ I just received from Vocalpoint, the marketing arm targeting MOMS with coupons to “share with friends,” (here’s a peek behind the scenes of some star recruits) Essentially, they send freebies in exchange for mom-power marketing, with headlines like “Drink to your health!” Riffing off Special K cereal success we now have “Special K20—Protein Water” coming soon! (sheesh, what will they think of next?)

This stuff is being positioned as a “sweet solution for healthy snacking” (flavored water with 5g of protein stuck into it) to “help you manage your weight and keep up a healthy lifestyle” coming soon to Target, Kmart, Wal-Mart and the local grocer…

No biggie there, but check this spin to moms, “since living healthy means doing the small things, we’re supporting you and your friends’ tiny triumphs of health with the enclosed encouragement cards and coupons.”

Uh, yeah. Gee, that’s what they’re doing, “supporting,” yup…how kind. Fab word choice!

So heads up, ladies, if any of your gal pals hand you one of these puppies out of the blue at the gym, in an e-blast, or over the ol’ white picket fence, know they’re stumping for P&G!

Gotta love the spin…especially since I ‘signed up voluntarily’ online, cancelled within the hour to test attrition response, and have been receiving their junk perpetually ever since, despite a shift to a different username. More soon on the Tween/Teen scene. I’ll watch the show first!

UPDATE: 1:31pm, 5-14: Here’s the CBS “early show” piece and sure enough they DID focus on GIA and such, so I’ll add the links to the top of this piece too! Tomorrow there’s also another good one:

“EATING DISORDERS AND MODELS: Ever since eating disorders contributed to the deaths of two super skinny South American models last year, the fashion industry has examined standards that force models to fit into clothes most women can’t wear. For now, thin is still in but EARLY SHOW National Correspondent Tracy Smith has the story of a designer who’s out to change that.”

Who says media’s not educational!! Enjoy!



  1. bill daul says

    I just watched the Early Morning piece. WOW…I am flumaxed. I can’t imaging this trend changing…and once one of these girls (or boys…they must have something similar for them) are introduced to the GIA-scheme…they will be hooked…just listened to their comments of wanting to be part of this for a long time…how it makes them feel REALLY important and appreciated. There is no antidote for this.

    It will be interesting to hear what the other side says and how to counteract such a powerful program.


    This show is really worth watching. I am surprised CBS or any corporation would show it.


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