Sunday, July 29, 2012

Smoking Out Another Generation....

Photo Credits:  The picture above was taken by a Terry Student, Brittany Beisner, in The Bulldog Souvenir Shop in Amsterdam.

On a weekend excursion to Amsterdam, some of my friends wanted to stop in a souvenir shop associated with The Bulldog (a fitting image, as Georgia Students).  The Bulldog is Amsterdam’s “First coffee shop,” which is a large leap (conceptually) from American Culture.  However, The Bulldog is much more than a shop that sells novelty items to curious tourists.  It is a brand, comprised of a hotels and coffee shops, catering to a younger generation of travelers. 

Although the brand does not promote what Americans would consider “family-friendly” ideas, they do offer products that cater to all generations, whether it is a ranging size of t-shirts made for men and women or a line of baby jumpers, as seen in the above image.  This was the most striking element, to me—targeting wide ranges, despite the niche audience. 

First, the idea of this type of coffee shop in America would only be imaginable, if it was built in California (and even then, it’s a stretch).  Secondly, the fact that the store was taking advantage of an unspoken public (infants) as a means of promotion was slightly shocking (yet, not unheard of in media). 

Is this lump marketing the most effective use of concentration, if the brand appeals to an audience comprised primarily of young adults?  What potential effects could this form of advertisement have on the generation that is being used as a vehicle for its promotion?  Is this type of marketing ethical?


  1. This sort of marketing could go many ways. If they are marketing to young adults that buying items like this for infants is okay, would that be considered "promotion" (not necessarily) of teen pregnancy? Also, it could promote the tolerance of allowing infants around illegal drugs. I guess its a good marketing strategy for young adults/adults that do illegal activities and have kids - but how big is that demographic? All in all, this situation presents itself as a lose - lose situation.

  2. Earlier in this course, we talked about developmental rates of children, in reference to their ability to differentiate between television and advertisements (or their lack thereof), during early years of development, but I think this topic can really be expanded to all forms of advertisement. Although an infant probably has little understanding of exposure to these topics (promotion of illicit drug use and sexualized content—referenced from the proximity of The Bulldog to the red light district of Amsterdam), what does this do towards a child's later development, if we view this in conjunction with the 4 part model, discussed in the class text (addiction, escalation, desensitization and tendency to act out or copy)?

    Given the demographic of the shop’s clientele (mostly unmarried young adults, as you had to be above 18 to get in, and I do not recollect seeing any patron wearing a wedding bann), is this marketing strategy really the most effective? Is the brand over marketing to consumers that do not necessarily fit within the target market, or is it attempting to encroach on an underutilized market (infants and children), by transforming the brand into a social and cultural norm for the newest generation? If the latter, what do you think are the ethical implications of this or are there any, given the cultural norms of Amsterdam and a shifted cultural framework?