EDITOR’S NOTE: The commentary here reflects my interest in advertising as a marketing student. The opinions expressed here are mine and in no way reflect the opinions of my employers.
UPDATE 8-12-12: Allyn Rachel, aka the Toyota Venza girl, is angry about Triscuits.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not one of those pedants who demands absolute truth in advertising; I believe in poetic license — even in business. It’s just that I’m a marketing student who gets 20 e-mails a day telling me who is using social networks and why, so I thought I’d show off a little bit and explain why it doesn’t reflect current patterns of social-network-site (SNS) usage.
In the clip, a daughter (played by Allyn Rachel) says she read “the majority of an article online” that said more and more adults are becoming anti-social, so she has been aggressive about getting her parents on Facebook. (They only have 19 friends — losers.) The ad cuts to shots of her parents enjoying their Venza crossover vehicle and mountain-biking with friends — presumably older adults — while the daughter stays home looking at puppies on Facebook. (“That’s not a real puppy.”)
As much as I’d like to believe in a world where old folks such as myself are joyfully cycling through the Santa Monica Mountains, it’s more realistic to believe Internet users older than 35 are just as glued to Facebook and other social sites as their younger counterparts.
According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Social Network Site survey, which was conducted on landline and cellphone Oct. 20-Nov. 28, 2010, more than half of today’s social-network users are older than 35. In 2010, 48% of Internet users over 35 were on a social networking site, compared with 18% of Internet users 36 and older in 2008. SNS use among those 18-35 grew to 80% in 2010, up from 63% in 2008. The explosion of older SNS users has put the average age of adult social-network users at 38, up from 33. It has also expanded the opportunity for marketers to reach these users — the ones with the most discretionary income — through social media.
Digital intel outfit eMarketer reported in June these users are also connecting with — or “liking” — more brands on Facebook. So if the spendiest (my word; it’s trademarked) consumers are swarming Twitter and Facebook, legacy marketing rules still apply: Message matters.
RELATED: More on the girl in Toyota Venza commercial
ALSO . . .
UPDATE 2-10-2012: Pew releases a new survey on social media users. Sixty-eight percent of 30- to 49-year-olds use social-networking sites.
UPDATE 9-12-2011: Spotted on MSN
RELATED 9-11-2011: How Lady Gaga helped me get off Facebook
UPDATE 7-26-2011: Toyota Venza girl ad on Yahoo