How brands can catch the eye of the younger generation

Girls teenagers

More brands are receiving pressure than ever before to act on their duty of care for customers. They need to make more conscious choices as to th marketing material and advertising message, inclusivity and diversity, and doing so is the only way for these brands to be deemed the go-to brand for today’s audience.

Brands can’t just look to the now, they need to consider their future customers, which are today’s teenagers. Advertising to teens is crucial if brands want to cement loyalty in the future. But advertising to the teenage generation requires different marketing strategies than the ones used for their parents. From social media influencers to YouTube reviews, this generation has always had the internet to turn to.

With this in mind, let’s look at which brands are reinventing their marketing strategies to be noticed by teenagers. This review of other brand strategies can help your company tailor its strategies towards the teenage audience too.

Clear and honest: Clearasil

Teenage years are the years of skincare woes, with some brands being the leading weapons against the dreaded pimples. Clearasil is one of those brands, the go-to name in facial scrubs for the acne-prone.

With this reputation, it may seem strange that the brand would launch a series of adverts admitting that they ‘don’t know teens’. Perhaps more triumphantly, the brand’s ad campaign rose from their incorrect use of a meme, which was duly torn apart by teenage viewers saying Clearasil clearly didn’t understand or know what teens liked. The campaign consisted of a series of videos in which employees of Clearasil presented themselves as being woefully out of touch with teen culture. The employees admitted that while they know teen acne, they don’t know teens. The campaign’s success lay in the sense of honesty, which teenagers would connect with, rather than attempting to present themselves as ‘cool’.

Supporting all changes: Lil-Lets

There are so many new challenges and experiences that teenagers face throughout the years, particularly for young girls, when they encounter their first period, which can prove to be a huge change to handle in so many ways. However, Lil-Lets has created their own teen range which is perfect for breaking the stigma around periods.

Teenagers on the grass

Their teen-focused period starter kits given young girls everything they need to easily get to grips with dealing with their period, even if they experience any common issues such as heavy flows or irregular periods. This brand has created period starter kits with age in mind, making sure that everything is designed to reflect what appeals to young girls; using pastel colours and love-heart sketches on the packaging. The discreet design reinforces the idea that periods don’t have to be a scary thing to encounter and will allow young girls to carry products around without feeling embarrassed when the time comes.

Plus, the teen pads have been designed to be smaller and narrower, which works better for a young girl. They are also just as absorbent as adult products and are comfortable to wear.

Concerning labels: River Island

One area of concern for many teens is the worry of being ‘labelled’. In partnership with the anti-bullying charity, Ditch The Label, River Island launched its ‘Labels Are For Clothes’ campaign to champion self-expression and reject stereotypes. For its 30th birthday, the fashion store created advertisements that featured a range of body types and abilities to heighten inclusivity. Promoting its AW18 collection, this is arguably their most diverse campaign yet and uses people from different backgrounds — including those with disabilities and down syndrome. River Island has acknowledged its responsibility to protect the world around them, seeing as everyone wears clothes.

Diverse representation is a crucial demand for today’s younger generation. Shopping at high street brands like this is just one part of growing up and to see different people being represented on a national scale will allow them to become more accepting of the world around them.

Shared concerns: Doritos

According to a recent study of 13 – 17-year-olds carried out by Google, Doritos are considered to be ‘cooler’ than even tech giants Apple. So how is this brand reaching out to support teens?

The brand found appeal by supporting the movements that teenagers support. Doritos nailed this by showing their support for
LGBT campaigns with their limited-edition rainbow-coloured snack.
To get one of these colourful packs, a donation had to be made to the It Gets Better Project. Naturally, this resonated hugely with consumers, and the limited-edition Doritos quickly sold out.

Without making bold claims of being the whole solution, Doritos successfully showed support for worry that grips teens the world over.

Just do it: Nike

Just like Dorito, Nike’s level of ‘cool’ among teens outstrips even Starbucks and Twitter. Plus, like Doritos, Nike has not shied away from supporting movements that teenagers value. For example, their classic ‘Just Do It’ campaign recently featured Colin Kaepernick, the American Footballer who started the ‘Take a Knee’ protest against racial and social injustices by kneeling during the national anthem. Nike continued to show their support for sports stars who were standing up against racial injustices with their latest campaign, featuring Raheem Sterling. This willingness to ‘speak out’ in defence of equality has a huge value to teenagers in particular, who have a greater appreciation not only for what a brand sells, but what it stands for.

Boosting self-esteem: DOVE

Dove have always been a pioneer of self-love and acceptance. For that reason, it has launched the Self-Esteem Project that has changed 40 million lives since 2004 through educational programmes. Their research discovered that nine out of ten girls with low self-esteem put their own health at risk by not seeing doctors or missing out on meals.

There are resources made available through Dove for parents, youth leaders, and teachers to make use of when speaking to a young person struggling with self-esteem issues. As well as this, their onsite blog allows you to learn more about key areas that influence a teens life — from social media and reality TV pressures to school bullying and mental health.

Knowing that teenagers will become their consumer base, brands are already taking steps to secure their attention. By capturing their custom at an earlier stage, companies will be able to focus on retention and ensure loyalty as they transition from teen-to-adult in the near future.

*Collaborative feature post*


Leyla Preston (595 Posts)

Leyla Preston is the owner and Editor of Motherhood Diaries global magazine for parents. Leyla is a busy mother of two even busier boys; Aron, 8, and Aidan, 7. When Leyla isn’t feeding, managing a gazillion tasks or cleaning the infinite mess at home, she is busy working on this magazine and a new cooking channel coming very soon – no rest for the wicked! You can follow Leyla on Twitter (@M_Diaries) or join the busy Motherhood Diaries Facebook group where all mums get together and share stories and solutions with one another: