The iGeneration

One of the most rapidly growing markets for American advertising agencies is the current under-18 crowd known as Generation Z, which has been affectionately redubbed the ‘iGeneration,’ and rightfully so. But what makes these kids so appealing to advertisers? In her article for Advertising Age, Beth Snyder Bulik explains that they are “armed with cash, (a) bevy of tech devices and unmatched marketing savvy.” She goes on to claim that “the under-18 group holds strong influence with peers (and) in household-buying decisions.”

Gone are the days when mother knew best. In today’s household, it would seem the kids hold nearly all the buying power. If they’re not using their weekly allowances (which, according to a survey conducted by Fuse Entertainment, average anywhere between $10 and $39) to make purchases themselves, they’re convincing their parents what to buy; convincing them what’s cool. And what’s more, they’re then able to share their opinions about those purchases with their friends on Facebook, something that’s still relatively unique to their generation. So, how did this happen? How did these acne-ridden adolescents obtain so much power? Wynne Tyree, co-founder and chief at Smarty Pants advertising, has a theory about who’s to blame. “Apple is changing the way [the iGen] consumes content, connects with each other, and connects with parents,” she says. “Apps are the way children are consuming content. There really is ‘an app for that’ from math facts to comparison shopping to calling their mom on FaceTime. The app world is changing the way that kids get content.”

As someone who’s still relatively young and about to embark on a career in advertising, I think this knowledge will be paramount to my success. I remember what it was like to be a kid – which marketing tactics worked, and which did not – and I think if we all keep that in mind, we’ll be able to do great things for the industry.

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