Engage And Matter: Pulling On Teen Heart Strings

It probably comes as no surprise, but teens are so deeply entrenched in their emotions that the slightest pull to connect them to a greater cause, or a hidden feeling or belief that they can relate to, can easily cause them to act, engage, and purchase. As teens yearn to connect and be heard, advertisements that can alleviate the separateness that comes with growing into adulthood and unite teens to a greater good will have a powerful effect.

A recent YPulse Research Study on teens’ media habits revealed that “transparency is key. Teens state that they want honesty for a marketing campaign to have the strongest relevance and spark interest.” So, when connecting teens to a brand, cause or event, keep all intentions apparent and be straight-forward.

Keeping these tips in mind, a few brands and organizations have found creative ways to attract teenage customers:

  • Clean and Clear: Clean and Clear has teamed up with Girl Up, a United Nations program that encourages girls from the US to offer tools, access and confidence to other girls from developing countries. Clean and Clear is very open about their support for Girl Up. The brands connection to a good and relatable cause attracts teen customers.
  • Penguin Publisher’s/Spinebreakers: Penguin Publisher’s recently developed Spinebreakers, an online community developed for teens, by teens. Editorial control of the site is in the hands of a core editorial team of nine teenagers that produce a wide variety of multi-media content for the website including video and audio reviews, alternative book jackets and endings, soundtracks, author interviews, podcasts, blogs and short stories. This site attracts teens who trust their peers’ tastes and opinions. It is transparent and connects teens to things they care about.
  • Subaru: Subaru has recently put out new commercials displaying the bond between girls and their fathers. The commercial is emotional and clearly targets young woman just as much as it targets their parents. Subaru is taking advantage of two customer groups at once.
  • Victoria’s Secret: The VS Pink brand asks teens “what do you heart?” This play on words shows that VS knows teens are passionate and care a lot about matters close to their heart. It allows customers to share the things they love and therefore creates a bond between the brand and its customers.



Teenagers have always pushed boundaries and asserted independence while figuring out which brands to make their own. Brands that can meet teens on their own turf, and find a way to connect with them by being transparent and promoting a good or relatable cause, will see the most success among teenage customers. They not only increase their sales but create the opportunity to form a lasting brand relationship.

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