Echo Effect: A New Generation Of Media Users, Ad Distrusters

  • by February 17, 2004
Echo Boomers like to be in control, don't trust advertising in any media, and are hip to hype, according to new findings by market research firm Yankelovich. The children of the Baby Boom generation, ages 12 to 24, present a unique opportunity for marketers and media agencies if they strive to understand the development of their mindset.

Echo Boomers are growing up with TiVo, instant messaging, and wireless phones. They understand the need to be able to turn on a dime--they live with short-term change and volatility. They live with paradox, realizing that every choice is filled with a mix of good and bad, according to Ann Clurman, senior partner at Yankelovich, who presented research on Echo Boomers last Thursday at the American Association of Advertising Agencies Media Conference in Orlando, Fl.

"This generation is about authenticity, authorship, and autonomy," Clurman said. "They want to customize and to have a non-passive media experience." In fact, one of the most interesting research findings for media agencies and marketers: 48 percent of Echo Boomers ages 18 to 24 say they look forward to the day when more TV shows are interactive and viewers can influence the plot or outcome of the program in some way.

More disturbing, however, is that Echo Boomers' trust of media continues to decline. For example, in 1999, 37 percent of kids ages 12 to 17 said they trusted advertising in magazines, compared to 30 percent in 2001 and 29 percent today. Twenty-four percent said they trusted TV advertising in 1999, compared to 22 percent today. While online advertising suffered the most-- 25 percent of the age cohort said they trusted Internet advertising in 1999 --it's now down to 18 percent. Pop-ups, pop-unders, and other forms of intrusive interactive advertising may have contributed to the erosion.

Among the findings in the age 12-17 segment:

*67 percent of Echo Boomers ages 12 to 17 observe that most grownups are "really stressed out."

*78 percent say that having a better relationship with family is important to them.

*80 percent believe they have a clear idea of their objectives and goals. *81 percent work hard in order to come out on top.

*78 percent say being in control is important, and that being in control is a sign of success.

Among the findings in the age 18-24 segment:

*76 percent of Echo Boomers ages 18 to 24 say they know what they want out of life.

*75 percent say having a good marriage is a sign of success.

*82 percent are skeptical about the accuracy of the news media.

Sources Echo Boomers Trust


1999 2001 Today Trust A Lot
Magazine Ads 37% 30% 29% 2%
Radio Ads 29% 25% 22% 2%
TV Ads 24% 24% 22% 2%
Internet Ads 25% 23% 18% 0%

Source: 2003 Yankelovich Youth Monitor, sponsored by Disney. Echo boomers = person ages 12-17.
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