Only 'relevant' brands are welcome at Spring Break

NEW YORK: According to a new study by Euro RSCG Worldwide, the college students who help comprise the coveted 18-24 age group are wary of big brand advertising. But Spring Break marketers preparing to descend upon Ft. Lauderdale beach bums should know that some brands remain welcome.

NEW YORK: According to a new study by Euro RSCG Worldwide, the college students who help comprise the coveted 18-24 age group are wary of big brand advertising. But Spring Break marketers preparing to descend upon Ft. Lauderdale beach bums should know that some brands remain welcome.

Among the brands considered relevant by the 500 students who responded to the online survey, Budweiser, Miller Lite, Jose Cuervo, Captain Morgan, and Smirnoff Ice ranked highest. Non-alcoholic beverages also earned a place at the umbrella-shaded table, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Mountain Dew Code Red. And lest they be accused of forgetting the reasons behind Spring Break, students also gave high marks to Coppertone sunscreen and Trojan condoms.

"The study confirms that Spring Break represents an important opportunity for brands to gain awareness among college students, but it also makes clear that the brand clutter of recent years has been getting on people's nerves,

said Marian Salzman, global director of strategy and planning at Euro RSCG, and creator of the study.

Only relevant brands need apply, though, added Salzman. "Of most importance to these students is whether a brand makes a good 'fit' with Spring Break. Promotional events and sampling opportunities for condoms, beer, and sunblock make sense to them, and are appreciated. But branding efforts for 'irrelevant' products are considered annoying distractions."

Half of those surveyed said Spring Break had become too commercialized, and only 15% said they remembered brands promoted over the break upon their return to school.

WHAT'S HOT ON CAMPUS IN 2002

TOP BRANDS Abercrombie & Fitch, Tommy, Nestle, Nike, Playboy, PlayStation2, Nintendo GameCube, Kleenex, Listerine (oral care strips), Mentos, and MTV

XBOX MARKS THE SPOT 77% of students say Xbox is "in,

versus just 25% who say the same about Nintendo GameCube. Among students, video gaming itself appears to be on the rise: 89% of high spenders think so, followed by 75% of medium spenders, and 79% of those on the tightest budgets

SUPREME SOFT DRINK 44% of respondents think Diet Coke with Lemon is a hot product. And it will get even trendier this spring: 50% of high spenders consider it "in,

versus 41% and 42% of low and medium spenders, respectively

MUST-SEE TV 59% of respondents say Sex and the City is a must-see program for college women this year, with significantly higher appeal among high spenders (68%) than among medium- or low-budgeted students (60% and 56%, respectively)

WATCH THE TOTE 45% of respondents think oversized tote bags remain an object of desire.

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