“Generation ‘Like’”: the Sociology of Marketing

Recently in my sociology class, we were assigned to watch a documentary from PBS’ Frontline called “Generation ‘Like.’” From the sociology perspective, this documentary illustrated the millennial culture which is a growing culture that is centralized around the youngest generation that has been formed by them being raised with technology and a strong presents of social and mass media. However, as a marketer, as I watched this video, all I could think about was the marketing aspect of it and social media. This video portrays how large companies are marketing to this young generation to develop life-long evangelist via social media.

Within this documentary, many kids are interviews and they all share a common believe that in order to be someone in society, they need to have a certain number of “follower” of their account or “likes” on their profile picture. This is playing into the marketers hands. They are using these extremely tech-savvy kids to promote their brands while the kids don’t even realize it.

For example, there was a young girl who was one of the top “Catching Fire” fans. She was recognized as this because she was participating in an online game-type challenge to be one of the people that shared the most content via her own social network. As she began doing this, she started gaining recognition via the website as well as gaining more likes and followers which made her more apt to continue sharing the content and playing the game. What she did not know was that she was being used as a marketer for “Catching Fire” and was extremely successful at it as well.

Many companies and marketing firms are creating content that everyone feels the need to share, or games that generate recognition or a positive result for the consumer, in order to advertise to a larger market. This is also an effective and cheap way to influence the target market or segment, because as one customer shares it with their personal network, the message is reaching more people within that same segment and with a more authentic and personal touch as it comes from someone they know and trust.

Large companies and marketers are taking advantage of social media, as they are reaching the highly-susceptible-to-influence teenagers to get them to become consumers at a younger age and become brand evangelists and marketers through social games and rewards.

If you would like to watch this extremely interesting full documentary, please click here.

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