I returned from my vacation in France to discover that my very own Mr Teen’s summer job sucked. Big time.
He loves it, of course, like all teens do. But I hate it. I bloody hate it.
I hate the fact that our local Stockholm mall thinks it’s okay to put 18 year-old boys outside its store dressed only in swim shorts and sunblock in order to lock punters into the store. I hate that it’s using his image to generate Facebook Likes with pictures and videos.
Conning the Innocent
Sure, Mr Teen thinks he’s well paid; he’s nonchalant about showing his admittedly impressive abs in public for an hourly rate. And he’s flattered by the interest shown by modeling agencies and the promise of casting events in London and New York.
But I’m worried. I’m worried that his identity is casually being consumed by a clothes company’s social media marketing.
Yesterday, the store posted a video of Mr Teen on their website and Facebook Page. Lots of people commented and even more tried to friend him. Sweden’s a small country and word gets around.
The football club he plays for think it’s great they have an increasingly public face and Mr Teen himself has proudly shown us (some of) the feedback and responses he’s got.
What worries me is that despite growing up with a mother who has a PhD in Feminist Theory, and a very media savvy father, he’s been seduced by a few thousand kronor and the attention he’s getting because his employer is happy to promote him to increase their social media profile online.Social media marketing is about making connections. I get that. But as an employer don’t you have a moral responsibility to use the identity of your employees sensibly online, especially if you’re building and promoting your brand with less media-savvy youngsters?
Right now Mr Teen doesn’t understand what they’re doing. And it’s not easy to explain to a headstrong 18 year-old who wants money and adulation.
What do you think?