Gen Y & Social Networks – my radio interview

Last week I was involved in a radio in terview with Simon Canning (marketing/media writer from The Australian) and Nick Love, CEO of Myspace Australia talking about what Gen Y want from social networks and the reinvention of Myspace.

You can listen to the interview here

Telstra Sushi Plane content goes live

I’m really proud to say that our Telstra Sushi Plane content has gone live. It’s great to see the effort by our team here at DDB Sydney come to fruition. 

 We sent 14 young Aussies to the home of pop culture Tokyo to take part in a reality game adventure which mashed the latest technology with crazy Japanese culture. All in a bid to create a live ‘test environment’ for the exclusive HTC smartphone’s  on Telstra’s Next G network, showcasing real people engaging with technology in a crazy environment.

You can follow the story here.

The guys and gals qualified for a seat on Sushi Plane by winning the ‘Manga Me’ (create your own Japanese superhero avatar) Facebook competition back in June/July.

The lucky 14 were paired up into 7 teams to compete in the Sushi Plane challenge in Tokyo –  think Japanese gameshow techified.

The entire experience was powered by the fantastic HTC Desire phones and Telstra’s Next G technology. It was all about creating an immersive experience for these lucky 14 and capturing the content from the live gaming adventure.

The teams competed in three challenges as well as several Augmented Reality Bonus challenges to see who’d be crowned Sushi Plane champion.The three challenges were:

Tokyo Adrift

Megapixel Sumo

Sushi Pain

This is a short video introducing the Sushi Planers

Check out the Sushi Plane content here

Thanks also to SET Japan, Naked Sydney, Mango for collaborating with us on this project.

‘I share, therefore I am’ – creating content to get into ‘My World’

Young people outwardly like to see themselves as individuals, however we all know that ‘belonging’ to a tribe or subculture, or indeed belonging to many at one time – is the key way  young people create their  identity.

Today, young people are more than just connected, they are hyper connected on a digital planet. They can all control, create and distribute content. They can all have their opinion spread, shared and discussed. They now have remarkable influence over  brands.

Today, YOUNG PEOPLE ARE THE MEDIA and brands need to respect their social influence.

They’re evolved to copy and now brand decision making very much happens amongst the ‘swarm’ within social networks. Gen C prefer brands they hear about from friends or social networks.

Their constant exposure to status updates occur independent of face to face interaction. The rapid fire nature of these updates,  provides almost constant exposure to new ‘news’. Their response is to filter the information they receive, and prioritise what they pay attention to – what matter to them. They start to prioritise ‘my world’ over ‘the world’.

Put simply, youth view the world as ‘Me, My World, The World’ (a concept first introduced by Peter Fisk a few years back in a presentation called ‘The Consumer Agenda)

‘My World’ is a representation of who I am, and also adds meaning to my life by connecting ‘Me’ to the things I care about or want.

‘The World’ is everything outside of ‘My World’ that does not have immediate meaning to ‘Me’. The vast majority of advertising operates in ‘The World’.

I gain and maintain credibility in my friends worlds’ by expressing opinions, sharing ideas, observations and thoughts. ‘My’ influence within my friends world is based on what I share, and how frequently.

The new youth mantra is ‘I share, therefore I am’.

Gen C ‘The Connected Collective’ rely on social networks to ‘protect’ themselves from info overload. As a result, info that comes to ‘Me’ through ‘My World’ will be prioritised, receive more attention and go ‘viral’ so to speak.

Brands today looking to engage Gen C have to create content that has ‘conversational capital’.

Content that is relevant, useful and entertaining.

Content they can actively spread through ‘My World’. That content could be anything from film, to games to online experiences to applications and utilities.

Content that begs a reaction and has a fun social interface.

Content that connects them with each other, not just with a brand.

Content that they can participate in, play with or produce themselves and pass on.

Content which enhances their social status within ‘My World’ and says something about who they are and which tribe they belong to.

That’s how you get into ‘My World’

Big thanks to my old DDB colleague, PC  (now Digital Planning Director at Saatchi & Saatchi Auckland) who authored the descriptions and insights above on  ‘Me, My World, The World’  from a DDB Yellow Paper he co wrote with Brent Annells earlier this year.

Diesel Facepark – poking fun at digital culture

As part of Diesel’s global Be Stupid campaign, they’ve come up with quite a cool little experiential event called Facepark, a live event where thousands turned up to create an analog version of Facebook, simulating pretty much everything you can do on Facebook in a physical format, starting with every guest receiving a profile cut-out on arrival that would become your analog wall for the day.

A cool quirky event that is semi social and a bit of fun for the brand. A mini movement against digital.  I like how the brand is poking fun at popular culture and being playful, in this instance, Gen C’s obsession with a digital life.  A very different approach to Levi’s super sious ‘Go Forth’ campaign which i equally admire.

Generation C thrive on Social Expression

I was recently quoted as part of a Myspace survey done on how different generations interact with social media.  The press coverage  was  here and here

This is the article which ran in The Age on the 26th June 2010

BABY boomers are better online networkers than their Generation X counterparts, a poll of Australian MySpace users has revealed.

Often thought to be flailing in a world of 21st-century networking, Baby Boomers, aged 46 to 64, boast more online friends than the average Gen X (31 to 45), the survey of about 1½ million people revealed.

The results were formulated using self-expressed data taken from the MySpace accounts of users across the country. But it comes as no surprise to youth strategist Dan Pankraz, who says it reflects a broader cultural trend that he terms ”the rise and rise of Generation C or The Connected Collective”.

// ”Unlike Gen Y (14 to 30) or Gen X, Generation C are not an age cohort but a collective mindset of digital natives,” Mr Pankraz said in a statement.

”Gen C-ers of all ages, whether they are 14 or 41, share a need for social expression, and social media has turbo-charged their ability to express themselves in real time.”

10 Youth marketing themes in 2010

I’ve been kicking around some ideas on what I believe will be the dominant youth marketing themes in 2010.  Some of these themes have been evident in youth marketing efforts in 2009, but I believe they’ll become even more pronounced in 2010.

Of course there are many more key themes, but these are just a few that came to me last night when writing this post.

Here are my 10 key themes for youth marketing in 2010:

1. Social Creative

Unless your idea is social by nature, you’re pretty much dead in 2010. Brands need to stop thinking about ‘big ideas’ and think more about being socially creative in how they engage young people. As always, youth are attracted to ideas where they see a new reality or a truth, but now it’s about connecting members of the tribe in new and interesting ways.

2. Influence

Influence will be a key buzzword for youth marketing in 2010. Marketers now understand that everyone online has a platform/amplifier to create his or her own wave on influence. Brands which make members of their communities more influential by way of exclusive content, special rewards etc, will gain traction with young people. It’s all about giving youth status within their tribe.

3.   Culture Mashing

The best ideas always mash together two unexpected cultural elements to create a new reality for people. I’m a big believer that ‘culture mashing’ taps into Gen C’s need for surprising spontaneous experiences that occur when they least expect it. Earlier this year we created ‘Cabbieoke’ for Telstra, where we turned the most painful part of a young persons night (the expensive cab ride home) into the best part, by mashing a free cab ride with a random karaoke performance.

4.   Experimental

Being experimental and taking a few calculated risks every year has to be part of your brand behaviour. Red Bull are the kings of being experimental in how they push the limits of human performance. Their latest idea, Red Bull Stratos is a collaboration with Felix Baumgartner to break the sound barrier while free falling from 120,000 feet. Both Red Bull and Nike both know that not every initiative they put into the market will be successful, but they have a Fail Forward approach and continue to innovate.  Try bouncing two different cultural elements together and build off your brand truth.

5. Intrigue

Young people a huge appetite for intriguing new ideas. Being interesting is important, but being intriguing is critical. Your litmus test for youth is them saying ‘Gees, I’d never thought of that’. Doritos in the US, are continually intriguing American youth through their Hotel 626 and Asylum 626 ideas as part of ‘Snack Strong productions’.

6.   Blurred realities

Whether we like it or not, Alternate reality experiences like Nike True City which use mixed reality to provide customer utility are here to stay. Whether it’s actual utility or purely entertainment value like Adidas’ Originals game, we’ll see brands creating mixed reality ideas exponentially in 2010.

7. Empowerment to Generosity

The ‘you can make a difference’ brand bandwagon has been around for over 18 months and it will continue in 2010 as brands look to empower young people through social media platforms. Already this year, we’ve seen One Young World in London and Pepsi’s Hit Refresh campaign, which is off brand, but interesting nonetheless.  I believe we’ll see youth brands shift gears to a brand behaviour which is more about ‘generosity’ within the community at a more micro level eg: how you can help out your close friends with the help of a brand.

8.   NOW-ism

Young people are the Real Time Generation, living at 100 miles an hour and demanding real time access to information and creativity everywhere they go. Immediacy is a must, they are über connected to everything so demand ideas they can play with and put their own spin on. If it’s not live, it’s pretty much forgotten the next time the Facebook status feed rolls over.

9. Collaboration

The brands who engage young people in ideas which create mutual value will win in 2010. As I said in one of my conversations with Graham Brown from Mobile Youth, marketers need to stop treating people as the bullseye or target destination for their messages, instead it’s all about treating them as partners in production and modulation of ideas. Youth WANT to be the media, make it easy for them to share your message/brand experience.  Collaboration isn’t new, but it will become more mainstream as brands understand the need for youth involvement in all facets of the brand.

10. Agitation

Agitation is my personal wish for youth brand behaviour in 2010. Too often in 2009, brands just went with the status quo and didn’t create culture. Apart from BK’s Whopper Sacrifice and Diesel’s Be Stupid, there weren’t too many brands that really agitated culture. Agitation is about starting something, lighting a fire in culture that gets a fresh conversation going. It’s about taking a look at cultures set of rules, and seeing how you can agitate the status quo. The boys at Crispin are masters of agitation.

10 Trends of the Real Time Generation/iGeneration

A few hours ago, the One Young World forum kicked off in London, organised/founded by my old boss and good mate David Jones, CEO of Havas and Euro RSCG Worldwide.  It’s a fantastic initiative, a kind of Davos for young people – bringing together over 1,000 under 25yr olds to work on solutions to some of the worlds biggest problems. Whilst perusing the one young world site I came across a great post from trend guru Marian Salzman whom I used to work with when I was a junior planner running around Sydney.  There’s alot of stuff she covers which relate closely to Gen C which I often write about. It also ties into an article about the iGeneration’s need for ‘instantaneous’ information  I posted recently. Here are her thoughts on some of the trends impacting 20 somethings globally sourced from a Global Youth Study she conducted in the lead up to OYW.  She also has a great post on the Real Time Generation.  There’s some good stuff here:

Herewith, are Marians top 10 trends of 20-somethings:

1. Real-time expectations

Virtually no one in his or her 20s in a developed country has known life without instant communication. Twenty-somethings connect with friends in real time — no waiting for snail mail or even e-mail. They get the latest news (whether world events or their friends’ status) as it happens, with a live feed of texts, tweets and Facebook updates from where it’s happening. Whenever they need information, it’s online in abundance. Reference books? What are those?

2. More intensely local lives

A paradox of borderless real-time technology is the way it reinforces local connections. With mobile devices, young adults make plans on the fly. With location-based apps on their phones, they find friends who happen to be nearby and get alerts from companies in the vicinity offering deals. Local is the new global, as I explained in my most recent post here, and nowhere is that more true than among 20-somethings.

3. Radical transparency

Twenty-somethings grew up with reality TV and radical celebrity culture — media poking into every corner of people’s lives, from Hollywood A-listers to Nadya Suleman, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, and Richard “Balloon Boy’s Dad” Heene. They’ve lived their whole lives in a culture of information “leaks” at the highest level, a world where even the great confess mistakes and show emotion to millions. They constantly use technologies that let them bare all — sometimes literally — to their friends. They’re aware that nothing online is confidential, but so what? This generation is more transparent about its thoughts, feelings and actions than any generation before it.

4. Expecting cheap or free everything

Globalization has made many essentials very cheap. Twenty-somethings can fill their stomachs and clothe themselves at unbelievably low cost. Budget air travel is normal. The Internet brings music, software, TV shows and all sorts of content for free. One of the biggest, most powerful brands on the planet, Google, offers a huge range of powerful services at no cost to the user.

5. Demanding entertainment

In some parts of the world, particularly the West, entertainment has long been an essential part of education. Young adults grew up with Sesame Street and edutainment based on fun, interactive graphics in the classroom and museums, an approach that has been endorsed by researchers. Even in places where more traditional education models prevail, fun and games have become a staple activity of young people. In the recent Global Youth Study, 59 percent of respondents said they regularly play video or computer games in their spare time; gaming is the second-most popular activity after socializing.

6. Worrying about the planet

Twenty-somethings came of age amid increasingly troubling reports about what’s going wrong with the planet. Inconvenient truths about climate change, disappearing species, habitat destruction and water shortages have been daily fare for them. In the survey, 64 percent of respondents saw climate change affecting them seriously, and 82 percent saw it affecting future generations seriously; 64 percent said only immediate radical changes can prevent the most serious impacts of climate change.

7. Seeing luxuries as standard

The basic tools of 20-something life are actually luxuries by historical standards. Whether they pay for them themselves or have help from their parents, most young adults in developed countries have:

⢠A smartphone costing well above $100, plus monthly fees
⢠A computer costing at least $300, with monthly broadband fees on top
⢠A wide-screen TV costing at least $300, plus cable or satellite fees
⢠Higher education as far as they can go

8. Pro-business, anti-multinational stance

Today’s 20-somethings don’t share the countercultural ideologies that fired up young baby boomers. They were raised in an environment in which free markets were revered and delivered plenty of consumer goodies. People in their 20s aren’t anti-business; some of them even founded megabrands (Google again). But they aren’t so fond of multinational corporations. In the survey, two-thirds of respondents said global corporations have too much power. But instead of trying to take down corporate giants by force like earlier generations did, now 20-somethings aspire to out-business them.

9. Regulate the heck out of media bias

Media in 2010 is vastly bigger than it was in 2000. Increasingly diverse news sources are available to anyone, anywhere, anytime. No wonder 70 percent of survey respondents get their news over the Internet. All this choice, plus growing educational levels and media savvy, makes 20-somethings acutely aware of media bias; 70 percent of respondents said all news media should be regulated so that they’re clearly independent of state and corporate bias.

10. Naturally Me but aspiring to We

Young adults are used to self-expression, self-esteem, personal computers, personal profiles, personalized settings and personal branding. Whether the culture is highly individualistic (e.g., the United States) or more collectivist (e.g., China), businesses have thrived by enabling people to express themselves, to be more Me. Culturally and commercially, 20-somethings have been encouraged to be more selfish than their predecessors. Yet they’re all too aware that everyone pursuing selfish interests creates planetary problems. Members of this generation are caught between the impulse to do their own thing and the desire to do the right thing together. Or as the pithy observation has it, “Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes.”