This summer, P&G will hire interns ages 13 to 17 to aid in marketing research for its food and beverage division.
The giant marketer has long been known for getting its assistant brand managers straight out of college and molding them to its ways, but the goal of the middle- and high-school-age internship class-which begins work this week-is more to mold P&G's marketing efforts.
ONGOING CONSUMER PANEL
The teens will serve more as an ongoing consumer panel than as interns in the traditional sense, a P&G spokeswoman said.
Teens from Cincinnati neighborhoods surrounding P&G's headquarters will work with marketing managers for such food and beverage brands as Pringles and Sunny Delight, which are targeted at youths.
According to a P&G job posting for the internships, the teens will be "watching television commercials and discussing why they are liked/disliked, taking their manager to the mall to identify retail displays that are 'cool'/boring, discussing what packaged-goods products they buy and why they buy them, handling new snack-foods shapes and taste-testing new flavors, and brainstorming for names of new snack products."
The teens will work 10 hours per week for eight weeks and in return will receive $1,000 and a trip to an August rock concert featuring the groups Monica and 98 Degrees.
SHIFTING RESEARCH'S FOCUS
P&G in recent years has worked to shift the focus of its market-research efforts from large-group sampling and focus groups to more in-depth observation of individuals in targeted consumer segments.
"This is one of our efforts to continue to understand how we can best meet the needs of our consumers which, in our snack food and beverage business, is the