Friday, May 23, 2008

Gentlemen prefer....

(Lauren Conrad, Stylized Portrait by Tiner).

(Kristen Cavalleri, Stylized Portrait by Tiner).

...Blonds or Brunettes? ...Well I prefer both.

...It's amazing how much my small beach community changed in four years after MTV's Laguna Beach TV Show. From a resident's perspective it accelerated our town's annual tourism and solidified the town's brand equity. From a marketing perspective, it put "LC," "Kristen," "Stephen" and "Laguna Beach" on the talking tongues of Gen-Y, a consumer base of over 20 million.

During my freshman year at Brown, when a Gen-Y would ask me where I was from and I responded with Laguna Beach. ...They would say ...Where's that? ...My response ...A small beach community between LA and San Diego.

...Three years latter ...The responses were much different. "....No way, that's where you are from?" "...You went to school with them?" "...Is it like that in real life?" ...The popularity pendulum swing was all thanks to blonds, brunettes and Zanjoc's mere exposure theory.

Zanjoc’s (1968) mere exposure theory states that the more a person is exposed to something the more he or she is inclined to like it, assuming they have a neutral first impression (value of first impressions). The visual content exhibited to Generation-Y through television shows (like Laguna Beach), Internet sites and in person through advertisements, store displays and promotional materials, must engage the viewer from the moment he or she is exposed to it. The more exposure a company has to a potential consumer base, the more he or she is inclined to like it.

Exposure can work for individuals looking to create awareness for a business or social issue. For example (Haralambous, 2007), although The Burman Government censored information internally in the country, Burman activists protested the doctorial regime through blogs, a Web 2.0 media, and created international awareness for their hardships. Individuals and businesses can connect through Web 2.0 platforms to create advocates for their brand, business or social cause. In particular, the ability to connect to Generation-Y through company websites and social networking profiles is rapid as new information is posted 24/7 and Gen-Y is constantly spending more time online. Internet visitors are quickly “thin-slicing” information and making their decisions if they dislike or like a product in a matter of seconds (Gladwell, 2007). The message must be carefully presented in order to ensure a good first impression and maximum likability.

So whether you prefer blonds, brunettes or just a little "Laguna drama," the more you are exposed to it ...the more you will like it, assuming you have a neutral first impression.

I wish Lauren the best with her endeavors, especially as she moves forward with her clothing line. I also wish Kristen the best, as she is completing two movies this year.


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