TV Elevates Brand Status and Quality With Young People

According to study results released by MTV Networks International, reported by MarketingCharts, television remains the most effective medium for reaching today's youth, and it also is most efficient for introducing young people to brands and helping to shape their decisions about purchasing. The study finds that one in four young people between ages 12-24 report that they first see or hear of brands or products from TV ads, and 60% claim that TV ads play a role in their brand decisions.

A brand's appearance on TV elevates its status and gives it an image of quality among youth, the study found. In addition, young people tend to trust TV channels, with the majority of youth reporting they have a favorite channel that they always tune into (80% in US, 73% in UK, 70% in Germany and 88% in India). Japanese youth have much less affiliation to particular TV channel (38%).

Though TV is important to youth in and of itself, it also is one of the most dominant ways of directing youth online, with both TV and Online media becoming increasingly interrelated, says the study. Both media contribute to the pathway to purchase, though the study reveals that brand image matters more on TV, while information and validation matter more Online.

71% of the respondents agree that the internet makes choosing a brand easier, while blogs, review sites and social networking sites are increasingly important in affecting brand decisions. Website reviews are the fourth most important factor for movie decisions (behind friends, TV and cinema ads) and they play an equally important part as official websites when youth are looking to purchase electronic items.

The study points out that young people have mature values when it comes to their brand choices, noting that practical considerations rank highest when youth determine a brand's desirability. Youth between ages 12 and 24 deem quality, history and trust as the most important attributes a brand can possess. 18-24 year-olds are more concerned with a brand's history, and 51% agree that, "knowing a brand has been good for a long time," makes it desirable.

Considerations For Selecting "Desirable" Brand


% Selecting

Good quality




Works well


Good for a long time


Good history


Has "class"


Fits my image




Cool image




Source: Viacom Brand Solutions, A Beta Life Youth, 12-24 Year Olds, April 2009

Overall, across all world markets analyzed, the vast majority of young people (69%) now research all purchases before they buy anything, the study found:

Percent of Respondents Who Research Purchases Before Buying

Respondent Country

% Who Research











Source: Viacom Brand Solutions, A Beta Life Youth, 12-24 Year Olds, April 2009

The research found that the concept of a "brand" means different things to different people. Youth are most likely to see a brand as a company, name, label or logo, while half of respondents think a brand is an image. This image-brand association is most common in Germany (where 56% agree). Indian youth are much more likely than other nationalities to associate a brand as a trend and ‘a way of belonging' (25% agree).

Across all markets, less than 4% say they pay no attention at all to brands. Japanese youth are the most cynical toward brands, with one in three reporting that brands are not something they pay attention to.

Additional international study highlights:

  • German and Japanese youth are less driven by a brand name and say they prefer to purchase whatever seems good, though this figure is much lower in the US, the UK and India
  • German youth are most concerned with a brand's history, with 64% saying that this makes a brand desirable. The global average is 46%
  • One-third of young people in the US say that TV ads are important to their decisions about fashion, while only one in five agree that celebrity endorsement plays a part
  • One in three 12-24-year-olds olds in the US claim they talk about brands ‘a lot,' while only one in four do so in the UK and Germany
  • 62% of the respondents across the five markets agree that they watch more of a TV channel if the channel has a website that enables them to catch up on shows
  • 62% of respondents across all markets agree that when they watch a show online they prefer to see it from the TV channel's website

Jules Robinson SVP, Viacom Brand Solutions International, concludes "Despite the economic climate and challenging circumstances for advertisers, we still see a proven ability for TV advertising to reach the target youth audience... (and) we're registering the rise of the influence of blogs and internet research to inform purchasing decisions among these consumers... highlighting the importance of online reputation management for brands... "

Please visit Marketing Charts here for more details and charts.


2 comments about "TV Elevates Brand Status and Quality With Young People".
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  1. Michelle Batten, May 13, 2009 at 10:49 a.m.

    Interesting study. Television is a driver or content, but as several of the findings indicate, its made even more powerful in the digital arena. The desire by youth to watch show content in their prefer digital medium cannot be discounted. Brands should continue to take an integrated approach and leverage the strengths of both channels.

    - Michelle Batten

  2. Toby Muller from Toby Muller Communications, May 13, 2009 at 12:49 p.m.

    Brand is a story, an experience. The web isn't a medium that projects a brand effectively. Web brands like Google, Yahoo, eBay have been established and thrive entirely online because you're actually using/experiencing the product.

    Consumer brands are short-sighted in their rush to hand over their branding communication to blogs/tweets/social networks (Hello Skittles!). Brand is a Rorschach test - as a marketer, I want everyone to attach their own aspirations to my movie/car/beer. Someone else's personal experience with it is a distraction. Word of Mouth is important, but Word of Shill marketing is simply annoying.

    In terms of creative, other than Levi's (which was really just a TV campaign without paying for TV rates) and people dancing over low interest rates has there been a memorable online "campaign" that's captured the public imagination like Apple's iPod dancer, the World's Most Interesting Man or Mac & PC have?

    Brand is experience and Web is impression.
    What did Mr. Whipple say? Who soaked their client's nails in Palmolive? Winston tastes good like...

    These commercials haven't been on for at least 20 years, but we remember them... we carry them with us. So while the internet is a powerful tool for targeting, you better hope you make a sale on the spot, because consumers - especially young ones - are a fast-moving target.

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