As consumers we are able to really put pressure on brands to be more inclusive within their advertising methods whether they are on or offline. Brands now feel they have a duty of care to make more informed decisions surrounding marketing materials and present themselves as the go-to brand for a diverse range of people.
Teenagers are particularly interesting to market to given that they are the consumers of tomorrow. There are now many more diverse platforms to advertise on, and in turn, reach more people such as social media. Online influencers frequently share reviews with their audience. Nowadays teens can access so much information and therefore so many more brands and products recommended to them. When I was younger I was advertised to primarily through television, the Argos catalogue and from word of mouth. It’s different now as young people can steam so much on platforms like YouTube, this is a generation that grew up with the internet.
It’s interesting to look at which brands are actively trying to break the mould with their marketing to support teens:
I am always interested in seeing how period products are advertised because more needs to be done to break the stigma about something that no menstruator can control; their period. Starting your period can bring on mixed emotions, stress, anxiety and embarrassment. Lil-Lets seem to be doing their best to try and make this an inclusive time for tweens and teenagers which is a great thing to see!
One thing the brand has created is period starter kits with age appropriate products making sure that everything is designed to reflect what appeals to this age group. The design is typically fun and feminine with pastel colours and cute designs. Lil-Lets are trying to reinforce the message that having a period is a normal and natural thing, that it doesn’t have to be scary and that there are many discreet ways of carrying period hygiene products.
Lil-Lets have also created specially designed Teen pads which are smaller, and narrower making them a much better fit for the body, comfortable but still as absorbent as a regular adult pad.
River Island are acting in partnership with anti-bullying charity, Ditch the Label. Launching the “Labels Are For Clothes” campaign to champion self-expression and reject stereotypes. For River Islands 30th birthday, the fashion store created advertisements that features a range of body types and abilities to heighten inclusivity.
The AW18 campaign is diverse, uses people from different backgrounds which is including those with disabilities. River Island want to be a brand for all teenagers. They have acknowledged the responsibility to protect the world around them because clothing is a basic right and necessity.
Shopping with high street brands is just one part of growing up and to see that different people are being more accurately and kindly represented on a national scale will hopefully allow young people to become more conscious and accepting of the world around them
Skincare can be a real issue for teenagers and another thing they frequently get embarrassed about. There are a few tried-and-true brands that generation after generation seem to relate and head back to. Clearasil is one of those brands and a frequently recommended brand for those suffering with skin breakouts.
It was a bold move for the brand to release a campaign admitting they “didn’t know teens”. Perhaps more triumphantly, the brand’s ad campaign rose from their incorrect use of a meme, which was duly torn apart by teenage viewers saying Clearasil clearly didn’t know what teens liked. The campaign consisted of a series of videos in which employees of the brand presented themselves as being woefully out of touch with teenage culture. The employees admit that while they may strive to help with teen acne and promote clear skin, they were a bit out of touch with teens themselves. The campaigns success lay in the sense of honesty which became more relatable and allowed teens to connect more.
A recent study by Google claimed 13-17 year olds placed the brand Doritos higher than the likes of Apple and even Instagram in terms of “coolness.” One key way for brands to appeal to teenagers is to support the movements that they support. Doritos did this by showing their support for LGBT campaign with their limited-edition rainbow-coloured snack. To get one of these colourful packs, a donation had t be made to the It Gets Better project. Naturally, this resonated really well with young people and other consumsers as the packs quickly sold out. Here, Doritos showed support for a world concern that teenagers value without claiming to be the entire solution.
Dove are a firm that believes in allowing young people to reach their full potential and has launched the Self-Esteem project that has changed 40 million lives since 2004 through educational programmes. The research discovered that 9/10 girls suffering with low self esteem put their own health at risk by not seeking help from professionals and skipping meals.
The brand offers free parent, teacher and youth leader educational resoureces to help adults talk to teenagers who might be lacking in confidence. Dove’s blog has lots of key information and articles about the key areas that really influence a teenagers life such as social media, reality stars to bullying and mental health issues.
Nike seem to be another brand that teenagers relate to, thanks to a Google study outranking brands such as Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Twitter. The brand has not shied away from supporting powerful movements that teenagers value and support. The classic Just Do It campaign recently featured Colin Kaepernick, the American Footballer who started the “Take A Knee” protest against racial and socail injustices by kneeling during the national anthem. Nike continued to show their support for sports stars who were standing up against racial injustices with their latest campaign featuring Raheen Sterling. This willingness to “speak out” in defence of equality has a huge value to teenagers in particular, who have great appreciation not only for what a brand sales but also what it stands for.
It is great to see that there are a variety of big name brands that are making the move to meet the demands of modern culture and cater to their newly found audience. Teenagers will become the consumers of the future so making these connections early makes a lot of sense. By capturing their custom at this age, brands will be able to focus on retention to ensure loyalty as teenagers transition into adults.