Teens are mostly influenced by the culture of brands. Once dominant, U.S. labels now account for just half of the 10 brands that are favorites among teens globally, based on a new study entitled “GenWorld,” conducted by Energy/BBDO and obtained exclusively by WWD. That’s down from the eight U.S. brands that made teens’ top 10 in 1995, when Chip Walker, executive vice president at Energy/BBDO, last did comparable research on teens, for the former agency D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles.
Branding experts differ on the chief causes of the apparent loyalty shift. They cite factors that range from deft, low-key marketing and product innovation by firms to a political pushback by young consumers. Smart brands win teen market share by allowing teens to be part of a brand “story,” experts say. Mr. Walker names the global teen “passion points” as music, media, sports, and communication.
Still, not all experts see country of origin as an issue with teens. Some doubt whether many US teens could name Adidas’s home base.
“For today’s teens, online buzz is king, and peers hold the most sway. What applies to young people is ‘Did it break? And did my friends say it was cool?’ [It's an] opinion process that goes on through IMs and text-messaging, and it applies to everything from movies to cargo pants.”
says Jim Taylor, vice chairman of the Harrison Group who has worked with the trend-watcher firm Intellisponse on its annual surveys of what (primarily US) teens want.
10 Most Popular Brands With Teens Worldwide
|Favorite Brand 2005|
|Favorite Brand 1995|
If you want to read full Energy BBDO release on the study here is the PDF file (85 kB).