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About grown-ups, younger generations and “authenticity”.

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Grow up!

Two words you’ve probably heard (or remember) many times. If you’re a parent, you’ve likely uttered the phrase on more than one occasion: Grow up, do something with your life and stop messing around – you’re not a kid anymore.

Society expects “us” to become responsible grown-ups, do grown-up stuff, such as getting a job, starting a family, paying taxes and so on. We know what “grow up” means since it’s connected to real life. That’s why it’s effective.

But what if a brand tells us to “grow up”? What if a car manufacturer tells us to start a family, or to be a good parent? What if they stop talking about the new safety features or fuel economy? What if instead they start talking about what it means to grow up and look for a job, be a parent or make significant life choices? In that case they might be onto something. Something authentic.

So let’s take a minute and talk about the power of authenticity in advertisement.

Take a look at this TV spot:

I don’t know about you but all I get here are quick edits, fast-paced music, an actress all in support of: a car, the product. Authentic? Did it resonate? Hmmm….

The same brand took a very different approach recently in its TV advertising, telling us multiple stories about what it means to be young and growing up in today’s world. Suddenly getting a job is not about writing job applications any more but about following your dreams, while starting a family becomes about the struggles of finding ways to make it work. Take a look for yourself:

This ad is a great example of “authenticity” – it shows us all those moments in life we are familiar with. The product is a part of it but is never the “hero”.

For younger generations such as generation Y and generation Z, authenticity is even more important than for either Gen Xers or Babyboomers. Research we’re currently conducting on Gen Z has revealed how sensitive younger generations are to “fake”. They want to see real people living real lives having real problems and experiences. Driving on a winding mountain road in beautiful scenery of an exotic country is fake. Struggling to get over your failed relationship is not.

To make sure we stay in touch with Gen Z, we’ve formed a research community, exploring how these young teenagers see the world, how they relate to categories such as fashion, food and drink etc. and what “real” life actually means to them.

If you’re interested in “authentic” from a Gen Z or Y perspective – please get in touch or click here to find out more on our Gen Z website!



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