Why Marketers Should Be Thankful For Teens

Yes, teens are fickle and sometimes hard to reach. But, in the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, we should consider taking the time to thank them for their role in a creative renaissance happening today.

Without teens, the recent burst in breakthrough ads by brands such as Axe, Adidas, and Old Spice, might not have been possible.

See, for as long as the advertising industry has been around, the coveted ad spend has been, and continues to be, heavily allocated to producing traditional TV spots. Yet, the attention span of consumers in general and teens in particular dedicated to these TV spots has declined over the years.

Because teens have become much more selective, savvy and impatient when it comes to "being marketed at," marketers are now charged with deciphering new ways to sustain their interest long enough to relay their brand message -- a challenge, no doubt, but one that several brands (including those mentioned above) have met with aplomb.

Instead of being frustrated with teens' fickle ways, marketers should be thanking this discerning, intelligent and eager target audience for demanding the rebirth of creativity! So here we go...



Dear Teens,

Thank you for reminding us marketers what our job is truly built upon and why we gather around the brainstorm table daily: to dive deeper into the psychology of our audiences, while encouraging us to think differently and produce imaginatively.

Thank you for your judicious nature and forcing marketers to delve into the parameters of your young adult world, while we pass along side dishes and ideas of what may or may not appeal to you.

Thank you for reciprocating good ideas with sweet returns by spreading the brand message throughout your network via social media tools and word of mouth.

Moreover, thank you, teens, for bringing the fun back into advertising fundamentals. It is through you that we're reminded of valuable lessons, in taking the time to:

  • Find where you congregate on- and offline.
  • Understand what moves you, what you're talking about and what you enjoy - pop culture and all!
  • Never thinking that we know everything there is to know about you! You're way too dynamic!

So there you have it. Marketers, put your thinking caps on and get creative when exploring the teen terrain!

And let's not just stop there .... We all know teens aren't the end-all, be-all influencers in the world. Target audiences across the board demand and deserve to be served with a giant platter of creativity (and not just turkey) this holiday season.

As Malcolm Gladwell points out in his bestseller, Tipping Point, little changes ripple into big effects. The viral snowball effect of small audiences paying attention to ideas, products, messages and behaviors can very quickly spiral into an effective and profitable word of mouth epidemic -- something that all of us marketers can certainly toast to!

1 comment about "Why Marketers Should Be Thankful For Teens ".
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  1. Phil Guest from Revcelerate, November 30, 2010 at 2:15 a.m.

    As executive vice president, Global Advertising Sales for Sulake, I can attest to the effect teenagers have had on advertising and marketing. Our main service, Habbo (, is the world’s largest virtual community and social game for teenagers. We work with a various brands to introduce their products in innovative campaigns to the very hard-to-target teen demographic. A recent example is the successful launch of the Sims 3 campaign in Habbo, which was accompanied by a full complement of contests, events, and even a special virtual item.

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