For anyone born after 2002, media technology is as effortless as breathing. Always “connected” today’s teens live in a digital ‘visual-first’ culture, where instead of typing and talking, they tap and swipe. Instead of emails, they Face-Time and SnapChat.
The hyperactive way in which this generation consumes and controls media has affected their expectations of the world around them. The democratic, customized, and shareable nature of the internet makes it difficult for them to follow prescribed directions from brands. They don’t want to play games by the rules; they want to create their own rules, and their own visual worlds.
Global, liberal and visual, this generation also has a strong 'post-body' mentality, which means they prioritize the health of their minds. Eleven years after Facebook was launched, we are only beginning to understand that we live in a reputation economy. But the young teens who were born into this digital world have already figured out how to live online. Placing less value on body image: Personality comes first.
To do so, they use social platforms to highlight their unique individuality and create their own aesthetics, using apps such as Periscope, Instagram, Snapchat and Tumblr - to name a few.
To appeal to their sense of fun, brands need to up their game with campaigns that match the levels of entertainment they are used to.
They seek experiences and vibrant rich media that can help them convey their feelings in ways that reflect their image. Something brands should explore in order to reach the all-new habits and expectations of this new group of consumers.
Examples on how brands are starting to adopt a new visual language heavily influenced by digital first culture below.
Adidas Future House Club
Adidas created an ambitious experiential project to launch its new shoe brand, NMD. For this six-day pop-up event, Adidas transformed a coffee shop/warehouse space in Shoreditch, London as the location for its 'Future House'. Adidas created different concepts for each day – such as Past Empowers Future or Under the Radar, with the aim of celebrating London’s creative scene. As well as live music acts, visitors to the Future House could experience and explore art exhibitions, film screenings, drop-in performances as well as workshops designed to empower the next generation of cultural influencers. The final two days were dedicated to the idea of Your Future Is Not Mine, a concept that underpins Adidas Originals’ wider campaign of the same name, which appeals to teenage consumers’ need for individuality.
Hunter's Summer Festival
To promote their spring/summer 2016 collection, footwear brand Hunter channeled their connection with summer music festivals.
They have created a campaign film that follows a young band on their journey through a surreal digitised festival setting. The images were layered over bold, colourful animations by the illustrator Will Sweeney.
Been Trill x Pretty Puke
Fashion brand Been Trill has teamed up with photographer Pretty Puke for a new video lookbook highlighting pieces from the brand’s latest collection and collaboration with Coca-Cola. Young, wild and stylish people dress the part for the Been Trill x Pretty Puke video and showcase what we could describe today as the “Millennial starter pack”: think hoodies, 1990-inspired cap, Tumblr and sneakerheads. The 360-degree lookbook video is a byproduct of today’s culture. It represents the future, the internet generation, the Tumblr kids.
Miu Miu App
The fashion brand created an app where users can create small video montages; a digital illustration of their own personal vision of Miu Miu. Users can choose to pair the tunes with a variety of graphic patterns and Miu Miu looks and accessories, resulting in a video that promises to be unique every time it’s watched. The short films can be saved and shared across social apps, further growing the brand’s already massive social network. The campaign is a great example of a brand creating shareable content that appeals to each user’s personality. Free on iOS, Android and Windows.