The constant shifting of youth culture
Recently, Time Out London claimed that, due to the size of its media and advertising industry population, ‘North London is a micro-nation of 40-year-old man-children in New Balance trainers who think they’re edgy because they once took half a pill while listening to the Happy Mondays.’
Whether you agree or not, the sense of being very much a grown-up, but believing we are still ‘in touch’ is a trap many fall into. Whether it’s the parent of a teenager or the middle aged marketer planning the next campaign, the truth is that, in our minds, many of us don’t feel that different our 18 year old selves.
Only we are. Whilst it has been claimed that around 80% of what it means to be young is timeless and unchanging – the seeking of independence, family tensions, rebellion, discovering who you are, expanding horizons and so on; the other 20% is unique, new and constantly changing: music, fashion, media, language. Although it is the smaller portion, this 20% is critical because it directly informs the personality and distinctive quality of the generation.
This means that, when working on youth briefs, there is some validation in harking back to our own younger days to evoke some of the bigger universal insights into this lifestage, it has to stop there, in order to be truly relevant and authentic.
At PrettyGreen, our qualitative panel, Grapevine, is always on. We speak to, understand and absorb youth worlds, be they teenage, uni students, apprentices, or any other group. As well as building close relationships with this audience directly, we also build relationships with their immediate influencers in the media. So whilst we may not personally be following the latest, emerging blogger, we know that picking their brains is only a phone call, Skype or Instachat away…