You Rock My World

Monday, 5 March 2007 - California, USA

Enthusiasm Kevin Roberts

Presentation Summary

When you’re talking about tough tasks, marketing to under 20-year-olds is right up there. It’s time for technology, social networks and a large dollop of the ‘cool’ factor. This presentation made at the Youth Marketing Mega Event offers seven ideas to stand out from the crowd.

The good news is the kids are taking over.

Power has surged through manufacturers and retailers to consumers, and is pulsing around youth.

It’s their space, their tube, their brand, their world, their time. Youth shape today. And reading the human report card, that’s good news for tomorrow.

Our challenge is to rock their world.

“Get Next Now” means “Get to the Future First”.

What do we know so far?

  • The future is in control – Kids dictate household spend – from autos to appliances; vacations to home renovations; education to apparel.
  • The future is open – Digital explodes all boundaries. Jesus has landed on MySpace. If you can dream it, you can do it!
  • The future is ageless – There are no tweens, teens or “has-beens”, just many ones.
  • The future acts local – Over 90% of all phone calls, web traffic and investment is local.
  • The future is uninhibited – Spontaneous recklessness comes standard. You’re out there chancing it – or you don’t exist.
  • The future is saturated – Brands looks like wallpaper and the kids are walking on by.
  • The future is emotional – People are about 80% emotion, 20% reason – and that’s the adults. It takes deep emotion to go beyond brands.

“Reason leads to conclusions. Emotion leads to action.” – Neurologist Donald Calne

The future cares – Most youth want to make a difference in the world, they expect companies to, they’ll switch brands to prove them wrong.

FACT: Bill Gates gets 4 million emails every day.

There’s 161 million million megabytes on digital devices, and most of it is crap. This year, data produced may surpass available storage.

The equation has changed… From Information Economy, Knowledge Economy, Interruption Marketing (aka the Mass Market), Permission Marketing, the Experience Economy, Attention Economy to the ATTRACTION ECONOMY.

Interruption Engagement
One-to-many Many-to-one
Reactive Interactive
Return on Investment Return on Involvement
Heavy users Inspirational Consumers
Big promises Intimate gestures
Marketing at Connecting with
Consumers People

Youth are savvy to simulation, brutal on deception, demanding authenticity, loving connectivity.

To connect, you must live in their world. At Saatchi & Saatchi Youth Connection we call this XPLORING.

The idea is simple: “If you want to understand how a lion hunts, don’t go to the zoo. Go to the jungle.”

SEVEN ways to rock her young life:

#1: Pass the Controls

The No.1 challenge is to lose control. Millennials grew up with the controls in their hands. Don’t expect them to hand them back!

If you take over, they lose interest. Hand over the message, the experience, the brand – it never was yours!

Hand the controls to:

Inspirational Consumers – the brand sirens who get their first and spread the word. 82% of sirens talk about brands with their friends; 87% love sharing information. Some gamers get it:

  • Burnout Bandslam is a MySpace site that invites users to submit their own soundtracks to an EA (Electronic Arts) car crash game.
  • Gaming vet David Perry is asking 20,000+ ordinary gamers to design Acclaim’s Next MMO – it’s the biggest development team in history.

Hand the controls to:

Young Shoppers – Brand-down design will become shopper-up. Get youth designing package and store. Kids sample with their hands; adults want to. Tomorrow’s stores will be dreamlike attractions, sampling sensations.

#2: Get Return on Involvement

“Kids are honest – they’re the toughest audience, you’ve got to be real to make them laugh.” – Clown, San Francisco

Kids will see right through a fake and move right through a fad. They listen to their friends.

With youth, you’re culturally immersed or you’re alien species. To connect, share the heart of the brand.

At GUM – Saatchi & Saatchi’s brand-authored content arm – we go beyond understanding urban youth culture. We create it.

Dr Martens Case Study:

Freedm Manifesto

  1. Re-invigorates rebellion of iconic Dr Martens brand.
  2. Recognizes GenNext’s need to create/express.
  3. Births FREEDM, an online grass roots cultural movement,, an “anti-MySpace”.
  4. Opportunity to showcase what you play, paint, write, draw or shoot – and be discovered!
  5. Through revolution, brings past to the future.

Confucius was there two and a half thousand years ago: “Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand.”

How do you involve? You match their mindset with your content in context they care about.

The sub-30 set devours rich media, parallel to mass media and pop culture.

#3: Go with It

Youth schedules are spinning out control. Kids are multitasking beyond belief. There will never be enough choices, options or Long Tails. Things come and go in a heartbeat.

Winners have the guts to go with it – to create new possibilities in a moment – and so connect.

The king cat in the digital playground is the one that pushes the limits, falls down, gets up and rocks the High School Musical.

It’s the biggest, simplest, bravest idea in the second she blinks. How do you get that fast?

#4: Create Lovemarks


Consumers commit beyond price, range, benefit, attribute – beyond the turbo of fads (bottom right), beyond the machinery of brands (top left).

  • Brands are built on Respect. Lovemarks are built on Love and Respect.
  • Brands create loyalty for a reason. Lovemarks create Loyalty Beyond Reason.
  • Brands are owned by managers, marketers and shareholders. Lovemarks are owned by the customers who love them.
  • Brands drive solid performance. Lovemarks accelerate performance, share, intention, margin and return.
  • Great brands are Irreplaceable. Lovemarks are Irresistible.

#5: Infuse Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy

Mystery: It’s what we don’t know that attracts. Kids love surprises. Knowing the outcome strips out the fun. Leave stuff to be discovered. Have an AND, not an END. It’s the treasure hunt that counts, not the treasure. Be random – it doesn’t have to make sense to be a hit. Lose structure and re-shuffle – we don’t need to tell kids which way to go, especially at college.

Sensuality: The five senses are portals to the emotions. Kids want it all: to see, feel, hear, smell and lick you.

Intimacy: Is the small touch, the perfect gesture. It’s the little things that reach and rock Mom’s world. Touch her with a chance to say one “yes” in a day of a thousand “no”s. She’s thinking of her kids’ entire life; show you’re thinking of more than just the moment.

And humor… there’s nothing funnier for kids than an exploded soda or pancake stuck to the ceiling.

The question is: can we laugh at ourselves?

#6: Send in sisomo

TV proved that sight, sound and motion is the best and fastest way to engage. In the Screen Age of kids, the possibilities to connect are explosive.

Kids want technology to stay behind the screen. They want heat to come through it – and we call that sisomo.

sisomo is the campfire of the 21st Century – It’s what attracts, warms and connects.
sisomo is storytelling, short and long, mixed and mashed – LonelyGirl to Happy Feet.
sisomo is an idea that dances on all screens, at home, in store and on the go. It’s a conversation across blurred platforms, not some format.

Science fiction writer Bruce Sterling calls mobiles “remote controls for life”. For digital natives, remote is real. Being connected is everything.

Your job is to help kids discover where they belong.

#7: Rock the Planet

The role of business is to make the world a better place. Who but the dream merchants can deliver?

In the context of kids, the bar is raised. It’s not simply helping make the world a better place but fighting to ensure the young have a decent world to live in.

Ignorance of inconvenient truths – carbonizing to supersizing to sexualization of kids – is a capital offense in consumers’ eyes.

It’s a three-way non-exclusive compact – economic and social and environmental profit.

It’s three strikes as one – or game over.

So what is the secret of sustainability? Work with complex opposites at the same time so they enhance each other, without compromise.

Unleash the power of paradox across markets.


TV: The Mattel Smart Cycle plugs in; physical play and learning for young kids on TV – and they can customize their “on-screen” vehicle!

Mobile: Child Watching Cell Phones, with GPS to locate and security guards on call.

Health: The for-profit HealthStores franchise in Kenya – where the child mortality rate is 12% – leverages its buying power (65 outlets) to provide high quality medicine at low cost.

It’s down to business, the engine of human progress, to win the long game. It’s down to marketers who drive that engine, to lead the way. It’s down to you.

Let’s all be inspirational players – before it’s too late.

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