Would you expect someone from the most technologically immersed generation in history to pay any attention to print? No, me neither. And here’s why.
My youngest kid is Gen Alpha – the generation born between 2010 and 2024 – and not only is he tech savvy, but he’s also adept at integrating digital experiences into his real life.
For example, last year he discovered claw machines – those deceptively simple arcade games that are darn near impossible to win. He learned about the game, not from seeing a one in real life, but from watching a gamer play it on YouTube Kids.
Now, my son uses claw machine apps, like Clawee and Arcademy. If you aren’t familiar with these apps, they connect players via tablet or smartphone to real claw machines in a remote location. Any prizes that players win are shipped directly to them. Each attempt is videoed for instant replay, so players can share videos with family and friends.
I may or may not be subjected to said videos on a weekly basis.
So, given my son’s penchant for digital experiences, imagine my surprise when I found him on the living room couch last month, engrossed in a toy catalog that came in the mail. There he sat, for over half an hour, pointing out gift ideas and circling items he’s saving money to buy.
Isn’t it curious that the same kid who scrolls past digital ads without pausing will spend half an hour flipping through a glossy, old-school catalog? And then keep it in his room for weeks afterward? I understand the appeal of a toy catalog. After all, I grew up in the Sears catalog generation. But the allure of print advertising with a kid today seems surprising.
It says something about the enduring value of tactile experiences in an increasingly virtual age.
And it reveals that perhaps – just perhaps – in our oversaturated digital world, the old-fashioned print piece has now become a novel way to grab an audience.