Friday, 11 April 2008

Brands and the yoot

We the young people are incapable of thinking for ourselves, often times falling flat on our collective greasy faces at the first hurdle of peer pressure. We really do need to be told what to aspire to. Sometimes, if you throw enough buzz words and slang, that's getting a bit too ripe, you might just fool us into buying into whatever you've got to sell.

I’m constantly amazed by the ‘down with the yoot’ campaigns out there which are so convulsion inducing in their wrongness, to wit, lack of understanding of that audience, that I’m surprised no one has said, wait, that dude over there has no clothes on.

Something from a youth community (old but annoyingly gold):

Once the advertisers got to it:

If you want to know what the young people are thinking, ask one. Actually, ask one who can articulate why something works rather than simply fire off a series of slang and or grunts.

The sort of insight you’ll gleam by holding a focus group or asking someone in the office who has a young person at home will often lead to misinterpretation or just plain lies. I remember doing a piece for a channel 4 programme called Zeitgeist (really, like, err, cool name yeah, real cutting edge and that). I collected some of my primary school chums and we were interviewed individually and as part of a group. “What’s cool, what clothes are you wearing, why do you like them, is TV still cool?”

We wore the same clothes because we wanted to feel like we belonged, we played game x because we knew everyone else was. The change between these early years and not too long ago while I was still studying, was cross over.

Whereas before if you were a ‘road man’ no, not someone with a penchant for pneumatic drills but a lover of hip-hop, graffiti, grime, baggy clothes etc that’s all you could be. Now you can do what you like, why not like Grime and Abba too. Mix flash mobs with EMO isolation, why not?

In the same way you can have ‘creative generalists’ you can have mashed, evolving identities that change daily. Friends who are still at university see this as a way of life but we’ll see what happens when they finish their studies and have to engage in daily soul destroying tedium. As for me, I’m off to have a ‘street war’ lets hope my flash mob enabled ipod doesn’t get wet.

Anyway, Rachel (she’s real puurtey) Newsome talks about brands:

“To say that brands have somehow replaced religion, actually represents both a nostalgic view of the past and a feeling that life nowadays is somehow less meaningful and more superficial than it used to be. To claim that brands are a new religion is to express a fear of change…

…For example, 'Playstation gives you power', is a very powerful brand message. But its meaning only comes alive in a dialogue between the brand, the culture it was created in and the individual user. On its own it is impotent. It is only because young people in their twenties already feel disenfranchised and need a means of escape that they can relate to that idea. So, really the success of brands is about how they respond to values and aspirations rather than about how they shape them.”

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