Jesus, Pop Idol: Capturing the Tween Market

by Kristina Loew

There was a time when popular culture was a bastion of rebellion, a place where America’s youth could forge a new identity and give the middle finger to their parents. Not so these days, where purity rings have become fashionable, pop stars are giving regular shout-outs to Jesus and raunchiness is in remission. Could it be that the Christian right has finally infiltrated youth culture or is it just a new way to sell wholesomeness to a precarious demographic that is bringing in billions of dollars in business?

Using family values to sell family entertainment is nothing new. Everyone from Ozzie and Harriet to Britney Spears has employed them to market their products, their shows and themselves. Back in the late 1950’s Mouseketeer Annette Funicello was carefully marketed by Disney as the quintessential “girl-next-door,” someone who was chaste and defined the morals of the time. Even Elvis and Aretha Franklin rose up through the ranks of popular music singing gospel. Continue Reading →

Abstinence Goes Viral

by Jo Piazza

Pundits, politicians and yes, party animals have all weighed in on the Bristol Palin meets Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino ad promoting abstinence and condom use. But apparently no one is laughing harder than Palin, Sorrentino and the Candie’s Foundation which commissioned the viral video.

The marketing team at the foundation, the charitable arm of the teen fashion company best known for its bubblegum pink ads with Britney Spears, brought Bristol Palin on board as an ambassador to speak out on the topic of teen pregnancy following the birth of her first child last year.

Palin has since said that she plans to practice abstinence until she is married.

The foundation’s marketers have been keeping a close eye on Palin’s run on the reality dancing competition Dancing with the Stars. In a recent brainstorm session they came up with the idea to bring together the fan base of Bristol (Conservative teens) with the fan base of the MTV show the Jersey Shore (15-35 year-olds with a Peter Pan complex) since Shore castmember Mike Sorrentino was also competing on the dance show. Dari Marder, Chief Marketing Officer for Iconix, Candies’ parent company, asked Bristol to talk to Mike about doing a spot for them. Continue Reading →

The Easiest Thing In The World

Mary Valle: I thought that the easiest thing in the world might be eating pudding or sleeping or watching TV, but I was wrong.  “The easiest thing in the world is to wait (to have sex) until you get married, and marry a virgin,” according to gynecologist and Catholic sister Dr. Hanna Klaus, who is preaching abstinence to African teenagers on the US government’s dollar, reports Krista Kapralos at Religion News Service. Now she worries because she feels her approach isn’t liked by the Obama administration, and that she won’t be eligible for the same grants. The great shadow falling over the fragile consensus of “abstinence education and condom distribution” — is abortion. Hillary Clinton’s recent comment that “reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion,” seems to have spooked conservatives, who may pull their support for global health programs, which may lead to AIDS rampaging once again through Africa. How about a new “smorgasbord” approach where everything is funded and clients may choose which services or points-of-view they’re interested in? That’s the American way, right? Consumer choice? Continue Reading →