My top 5 youth ideas for 2009

Well I’m about to log off tomorrow for 2009, back Jan 6th. It may be a little quiet around here for a while. I’ve got some cool ideas that I’ve been working on the past months that will be breaking in early 2010, so I lookforward to putting them out there and seeing what people think.

 It’s been a great year, I hope you’ve found my insights into youth marketing, planning,  social media and Gen C interesting. In my time off I’m going to be thinking about how I get my book on Youth Tribes going, as it’s such a morphing space, but I’m excited about getting into all the different youth subcultures in Australia and understanding their differences and universal commonalities.

For a bit of fun, here are my  5 favourite youth ideas/content deliveries of 2009:

1. Red Bull Project X – Shaun White Secret Halfpipe (clear winner) – Creating a secreet halfpipe for Shaun White to practice new tricks in…in a word AMAZING. RB are the kings of creating mythology around their brand and deliver the storytelling ina simple yet inspiring way. They know that they are far more than an energy drink brand, they are a youth entertainment media brand. No one ‘creates culture’ like RB.

2. Burger King Whopper Sacrifice – brilliant idea which fucked with the establised codes of culture by getting people to ‘scarifice’ friends to show their love of the Whopper. It’s so brutally simple and engaging. Just when everyone though FB was about adding mates, Crispin turned things on it’s head and made the world go into sacrifice mode.

3. Levi’s ‘Go Forth’ - superb job of creating a new manifesto for Levi’s and making the  ‘Original’ brand position mean something for American youth. This brand idea did a great job of tapping into Generation O (Optimism) which is sweeping across America right now and capturing a relevant mood of global youth.

4. Sprite ‘Reality Remixed’ – Green Eyed World - truly social idea with great follow factor, following the breakout year of a pop hopeful,  Katie –  which in the world of music marketing is absolutely rare…fantastic consumer engagement via the youtube series and Facebook connect interaction, awesome use of technology to make the idea truly social

5. DC Shoes ‘Gymkhana’ videos  – the series of Ken BLock ‘gymkhana’ videos are a youtube phenom, makes the brand feel so authentic and cool when you see KB burning around trailer parks doing tricks in his WRX. DC shoes are smart, they entertain their true believers and the rest flock towards them

Some other cool things that have been quite innovative in engaging youth:

- Fiesta Movement – innovative way to launch a car, try sparking a movement by giving 100 cars away to kids to drive around for a few months…created deep engagement with ‘agents’ and the car was the backdrop to the storytelling. They’re shifting into getting fans to ‘create the 2011′ advertising which worries me, but lets see what happens.

Halo 3 ODST:  – love a great little ARG which sent Canadian gamers on a trasure hunt across Toronto for VIP access to the launch party…they engaged the true believers and the game sold out like hot cakes.

- V Australia 4320LA (Well done Sudeep and Nick K) – smartest use of ‘Twitter’ for a campaign, although the return leg of 4320Sydney wasn’t as engaging.

- Coke Expedition 206 - sheer scale and audacity of the idea of taking 3 20 somethings around the world for a year to spread ‘Happiness’ in 206 countries is cool…whether there is follow factor is yet to be seen

- Gatorade ‘Replay’ – clever doco created by Gatorade in the US..getting two high school football teams from the 90’s who are super fierce rivals to replay a drawn match. Captivating content and an authentic role for product which is rare in branded content these days, without it feeling forced.

Have a great Christmas/Hannukah and Happy New Year  and am hoping one of my ideas make it onto this type of list of innovative youth marketing ideas/programs.

Levi’s ‘Go Forth’ – inspiring Generation ‘O’ (Optimism or Obama)

Wieden & Kennedy Portland have just launched their latest work for Levi’s and I’m impressed, I think it will definitely strike a chord with American youth. American youth want to be proud of being American for a change, and this campaign helps them do that.  I worked a little on the brand at my time at BBH New York and I’m happy to see the brand stand for something ‘bigger’ than just sex appeal and make their heritage mean something.   The campaign has been designed to connect the 150-year-old brand with the youth of today, tapping into the fact that this generation is patriotic about the US and optimistic about life. 

 Doug Sweeny, vice-president for Levi’s brand marketing, said of the young Americans at whom the campaign is aimed: “They’re realists — they understand the challenge. They’re optimistic about the future, they can project forward. We found that really powerful and tried to evoke it in the campaign.”  So, they’re talking to Generation Optimism or Generation Obama (as we like to call it)  who want change, and levi’s is the quintessential American brand who can help reflect a new brighter future for youth. I think this campaign is culturally relevant in todays environment when youth are searching for something/peopel to believe in. I especially like the manifesto piece which sets the tone for this new brand belief. Will be interesting to see how global youth react to it in other Western cultures, but I think the thought of  ‘Go Forth’ is globally relevant despite its obvious US history connotations. Well Done Levi’s.

Levi's 'Go Forth' manifesto....the return of the manifesto, havent seen one like this since Impossible is Nothing

Levi's 'Go Forth' manifesto....the return of the manifesto, havent seen one like this since Impossible is Nothing

Levi's Go Forth outdoor

Levi's Go Forth outdoor

An oldie but a goodie – Great creative brief led to great Coke work

It’s always great when you read a really simple and inspiring creative brief that led to awesome work. This is an abbreviated version of an old Wieden & Kennedy  brief from ’05 that led to the famous ‘Happiness Factory’ campaign and the ‘Coke Side of Life’ tagline. I love its simplicity and pointy-ness (if that’s a word), emotive language as well as the fact it gave creatives numerous meaty departure points for idea generation. It nails a key consumer issue that’s built out of a obvious objective of restoring global sales.

ISSUE: Coke has become a forgotten friend

CHALLENGE: Remind people of what makes Coke special

BRAND IDEA: Coke is the genuine taste of happiness

SUPPORT:

Coke is delicious and refreshing.

It won’t restore the ozone layer or solve world peace.

But it will lift your spirits, especially when things aren’t going your way,

And you need a little taste of happiness.

This is when only a Coke will do.

TONE OF VOICE:

REAL & HONEST – one of a kind, refreshes your mind and body like no other

INTIMATE & PERSONAL – Coke is the ultimate connector – partake in simple life pleasures

FRIENDLIEST drink on earth

JOYFUL & UPLIFTING – Coke is the eternal optimist, a ‘can do’ attitude reminds us that a better tomorrow always awaits

Unfortunately Coke hasn’t really created an amazing global Coke campaign since this campaign. They need to return to this brief as much of their recent work is wallpaper.

Youth Marketing Rule #1: Listen to your fans, then react.

The best youth brands keep their fingers on the pulse and listen to what their fans are saying about them in the digital space. Whether it be following blogs, creating profiles on social networking sites, you have to know what people are saying about you right now. Quarterly tracking studies are useless. In late 2008, EA Sports captivated its community by creating an ad which was in direct response to a youtube video created by a gamer. ‘Levinator 25’ claimed there was a ‘glitch’ in the Tiger Woods 09 Walk on Water video game. A week after the video was posted by Levinator highlighting the apparent glitch, EA came out with a video featuring Tiger Woods walking on water and hitting the ‘Jesus shot’, the ad ends by saying ‘It wasn’t a glitch, he’s just that good’ . The video has been viewed over 3 million times on youtube and the game has gone on to be a massive seller with no media budget. The ability to be flexible and adapt your message quickly is a key tenet of successful engagement.