GenerAsian Next: Marketing To Asian Youth

To advertise to America’s growing Asian youth population, be respectful of cultural differences yet aware that teenagers everywhere have the same kinds of likes and dislikes. That’s the message driven home recently at the Asian American Advertising Federation’s conference “GenerAsian Next: Marketing To Asian Youth.”

Speaker after speaker discussed how the Asian youth market – from age 12 to 34 – has both similarities and differences to the rest of the youth market. Knowing how to navigate the differences will help advertisers strike gold, speakers said.

The Asian youth market is among the fastest-growing in the United States and 24.2 million of the nation’s 536.1 million people ages 12-24. Asians make up 12% of the population of New York, 11.3% of the population of Los Angeles, 10.5% of San Francisco and 12% of the population of Houston.

“There’s a huge opportunity to capture this audience,” said Tru Pettigrew, vice president of 360 Youth. Pettigrew said Asian-American teens are segmented into many different groups and while they want advertisers to recognize their differences, they also want them to know that there are some consistencies too. Pettigrew said trends change quickly and television is the most influential medium. There’s an influence from East Asia and Japan is the fashion center where most of the apparel trends begin, he said. But Asian American teens have similar concerns with beauty, fashion and health as other Americans.



The Asian-American teen is also just as wired or more so than the average teen, with 31% owning their own computer, 17% owning either a PDA or a cell phone and 11% owning a home-entertainment center. This mobile lifestyle – for this generation, the technology has always been there – means they’re used to listening in sound bites and quick communication. This should be noted in adverting and other marketing messages.

“If you don’t catch them quickly, chances are you won’t catch them at all,” Pettigrew said. They’re also marketing savvy, he said. They respond best to messages that are fresh, fun and entertaining.

“They know they’re being marketed to … They’re a moving target. Intercept them where they are,” he advised.

Other presenters discussed the Internet’s impact on the American Asian community. Tom Spooner, a research specialist with the Pew Internet and American Life project, said studies have shown that Asians use the Web at a higher rate than other Americans. He said the tale of Asian youth on the Internet was “the young and the connected.”

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