Teen talk: A foreign language?

Date of publication: June 15, 1980


Young people tend to use advertising quite differently to their elders. They represent a generation which has grown up with increasing exposure to a range of media, which are in their turn becoming ever more sophisticated. The observations in this paper are drawn from experiences in marketing and advertising various types of products to children and teenagers. We examine some of the research approaches we have found to be useful in communicating with our target audience and eliciting information from them. In addition an attempt is made to highlight some of the main factors to be considered in addressing advertising to this age group. Illustrations are drawn from a variety of markets including the soft drinks and toiletries areas. The paper starts by trying to establish the scenario today's teenager finds himself in and then examines the various sources of influence operating on him or her. We stress in particular the need to establish rapport with this age group and offer some thoughts on how best to go about this. In the last section the different media available are considered and how teenagers tend to use them. Finally we offer some "operational guidelines" which the reader may find helpful in approaching the task of marketing and advertising to teenagers.

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