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Issue Date: July 2004

How advertisers can still reach today's wired youth

July 2004
Drew Neisser

Gen Y is the first Internet generation, the first to imagine life without a landline. They are ‘totally wired’, ‘IMing’, ‘Text messaging in their own LOL’, so into multitasking and consuming media simultaneously, that doing one thing at a time is almost unthinkable… from ‘Blogs’, to ‘Online journals’, ‘Flash mobs’, and so on are parts of their lives.

Sounds like another language does it not? But this is how those who are truly plugged into cyberspace operate.
Gen Y is totally focused on 'experiencing'. While Gen X lived the maxim 'knowledge is social currency', this generation values diversity and intensity - hence the popularity of seeing movies on opening night, of blogs, flash mobs, and 'American Idol'.
They respond to promotions and guerrilla techniques that create interactive experiences they can share and talk about later. And being multitaskers provides another opportunity to create deeper experiences, ie American Idol: they can watch it on TV while voting via phones and chatting online (not to mention reading about it in magazines).
Advertisers whose messages do not break through, who are not fun, are done. But, those who can talk the talk have many media options to influence the influencers, particularly in combination with viral and guerrilla marketing techniques.
Here is a novel approach. Do not just repackage their father's car. Make a product that interests youth. Look at Scion, the first fully customisable car, from radio to tyres, and the first car delivered without a radio so the consumer can choose. This requires marketing and product design collaboration, but would make our jobs a lot easier.
What works:
* Events-line up affinities and make a commitment (from skateboarding to heavy metal, surfing to hip hop).

* Online.

* M environments.

* Webisode.

* Viral.

* Games.

* Offline: go where they are, beaches, concerts, parks, sports events.
The 16-24 year-old demo buying power is estimated at $100 to $500 billion in the United States along, and they are heavy household influencers, affecting purchases from food to automotive, restaurant to vacations.
By 2010, 63 million GenYers will have their driver's license... Will their destination include your product or service?
Source: Drew Neisser is CEO of Renegade Marketing Group, NYC. Website:

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