AFFILIATION TARGETS YOUNGEST FEMALE CONSUMERS

Research Employs Slumber Parties And Other Little-Girl Lures

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Los Angeles-based agency Ground Zero is hoping to cash in on the purchasing power wielded by the 20 million or so young girls in the U.S.

The agency has begun a formal affiliation with Girls Intelligence Agency, a shop specializing in researching and marketing to girls aged 8 to 18. According to figures from Ground Zero, at stake for the two agencies is the more than $400 billion a year in family purchases young girls influence and the $67 billion they spend of their own money.

Ground Zero Chairman

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Jim Smith said the alliance will allow his shop and GIA to pitch new clients such as AT&T Corp., Sears, Roebuck & Co. and Bank of America.

"We are developing a list of companies and will pitch them jointly," Mr. Smith said.

Laura Groppe, CEO of GIA, has conducted research projects by doing things such as holding slumber parties. The shop also has a relationship online with 40,000 "influencers." The shop will be housed in Ground Zero's offices.

Among GIA's projects are assignments from Universal Studios for its recently released surfer-girl flick Blue Crush and from Warner Bros. for the upcoming Harry Potter sequel. Other projects include work from Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble Co.

Ground Zero's clients include the California Department of Health's anti-smoking campaign and Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN.

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