The activist group ‘Invisible Children’ set a world record earlier this year when their ‘Kony 2012′ video campaign went viral - it was viewed over 100 million times in less than a week. Despite the digital buzz, its call for young people to ‘make Kony famous’ on April 20th did not materialise to the extent this initial interest would have suggested. Insight from Kantar Media’s latest Youth TGI survey reveals that Britain’s youngest consumers are a skittish bunch - marketers need to adapt quickly to engage them effectively.
What no doubt helped the Kony video is the significant level of political engagement amongst young people in Britain. 45% of those aged 11-19 are interested in politics and 64% of these politically-minded young people use social networking sites at least once a day - more than the average for this age group.
What also helped the video to capture the popular imagination so quickly is the connectivity of young people in Britain. Youth TGI reveals 62% of 11-19 year olds in Britain use social networking sites at least once a day. These heavy social-networkers are also increasingly staying connected on the move – 59% of them use their mobile phone for social networking – meaning they don’t have to wait until they get home to pick up on the latest news from the Twittersphere.
This combination of political engagement and connectivity makes for a potent promotional mix as the Kony video demonstrated. Indeed, politically-minded young people are a particularly lucrative group for marketers to tap into, particularly those who follow politics through the media but stop short of active participation.
These ‘passively political’ young people are 25% more likely to be influenced by other people’s online opinions when it comes to their purchasing decisions. This is good news for marketers given that they are also more likely to be amongst those in their age group with the highest independence when it comes to purchase responsibility. In addition, they are over 20% more likely than average to have a regular part time job, indicating that they have their own source of income to spend as they like.
Youth TGI reveals that these ‘passively political’ young people are not exclusively reached online. They are 51% more likely than the average 11-19 year old to be amongst the heaviest 20% of newspaper consumers. They are also a quarter more likely to listen to 2-3 hours of radio on a weekday. In addition, they are more likely to be amongst the heaviest 20% of consumers of outdoor media.
Looking at how quickly attention waned from the Kony campaign, it shows the importance for marketers in being responsive and proactive in reaching young people effectively. Youth TGI reveals that the celebs these politically engaged youngsters are most likely to admire has changed a great deal in recent years. Youth TGI reveals that the celebs these politically engaged young people admire has changed a great deal in recent years. In 2010 their favourite personality was Barack Obama, the following year it was Johnny Depp and now JK Rowling tops the list. So even though this group generally responds well to advertising endorsed by their favourite celebs, marketers are having to understand how quickly opinions change and the speed at which ‘cool’ can become ‘uncool’.
As featured in MediaTel Newsline, May 2012