Fishing for teen turn-ons, N.Y. marketer has the hooks

November 17, 1993|By Stephanie Shapiro | Stephanie Shapiro,Staff Writer

Think of the quest for teen-age turn-ons as a "fishing expedition," says Marian Salzman, president of BKG Youth, a youth marketing firm based in New York.

First, you "catch the fish and then decide what you're going to serve for dinner."

That makes Hillary Rodham Clinton a catch of the day.

Recently, 2,500 teens polled by BKG said they would choose the first lady over Vice President Al Gore, businessman Ross Perot and talk-show ideologue Rush Limbaugh in the 1996 presidential election.

That's the kind of information retailers can take to the bank. Mrs. Clinton, Ms. Salzman says, is one of those "hot buttons" that firms should push to move a product, be it athletic shoes or feminine hygiene items.

Mrs. Clinton's specific aura of intelligence and influence will be parlayed into broad advertising campaigns in 1994 "featuring powerful women," Ms. Salzman predicts.

Bradford Williams, a marketing specialist for Levi Strauss & Co., a BKG client, says the marketing firm's findings serve a purpose butdon't define how the company pitches jeans.

"It's rare that there's a direct connection between a consumer attitude and something we may put on the market," he says.

"It's something we stir into the pot."

Here's a smattering of other BKG poll results:

* Among teen-age girls, 62 percent are opposed to banning gays in the military. Teen-age boys are split 50-50 on the issue.

* For teens, the most serious problems confronting the United States are AIDS, crime and gangs, the economy and education. (Only 5 percent felt that the environment was paramount.)

* Premarital sex is OK for mature teens, according to 63 percent of poll respondents.

* Charity begins at home, teen respondents said: Federal aid should go to flood survivors in the Midwest, inner-city revitalization and college tuition aid.

* When it comes to all-time fun activities, getting a driver's license, winning a sports competition, starting high school and getting a job led the field.

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