Let me let you in on a little pet peeve of mine: Rushing the end of summer. You know who is the most guilty of this? You are. Yeah, sure, marketers want to get in front of customers early and often and that's totally cool, but talking about back to school in July is a little too much. But it gets worse. My local grocery store has end-caps up for Halloween. In August. Seriously, can we ratchet things down a little and let summer roll on at its normal lazy pace?
We're in the home stretch of the 2016 election, and it's not just the Presidential candidates working on their campaigns. Brands from all categories, from automakers to fast food chains, are capitalizing on this spike in public interest around politics with ads that reference issues and poke fun at the political circus.
Every generation is faster-living than the one before it. The rise of digital, mobile and social media has fueled an explosion of high-risk behavior. And with drug culture permeating society, teens are using controlled substances more than ever before.
Ask any parent today and they'll likely tell you how hard it is to get a teenager to do anything. One could argue that this is hardly unique to this particular generation of teenagers, but rather, part of the universal adolescent experience.
Independent intimacy has always existed. Books, newspapers and magazines were all personal media that could be used in a shared space, as is portable music. Mobile devices take things to a whole new level.
Youth often rebound from the attitudes and preferences set by previous generations. For example, in the recent past, generational differences were dramatically apparent in Boomer parents' and Millennial kids' attitudes toward technology. Boomers resisted technology's influence in raising their children, often going so far as to ban cellphone use at the dinner table.
Selling to teens is tough, but selling "through" them to parents can reach varsity-level difficulty. Teens (and young Millennials in general) carry a great amount of influence with their parents, particularly in certain categories such as electronics. According to a 2015 YouGov study, teen influence over parents' purchases ranges anywhere from 25% (for parents' footwear) to over 90% (for teen fashion).
This summer has offered a strong rebuke to those who complain that kids and teens never leave the house to enter the great outdoors. Thanks to the hit Pokemon Go game, they are now walking around everywhere in search of characters and other rewards via the smartphone app's scavenger hunt-style game, even reportedly stumbling on a dead body or tripping and falling as they succumb to the daze of the augmented reality game.
For a long time, online marketers' favorite success metric was number of views. It's a fairly easy thing to measure, it's instantly available and readily understandable. The assumption was that getting a lot of views meant your content or ad was good and your message was getting through. As the web and its consumers have evolved, we've learned that's not necessarily the case.
Companies driven by the mantra of "doing well by doing good," a bandwagon many jumped on in recent years, seem poised to be sweetly rewarded by connecting more successfully and emotionally with Gen Zs (post-Millennials, born after 1995) than with prior generations.