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Say hello to the Sensibles

At Designate, we often take on work experience students. Last week in the account handling department, we had a college student with us. Now, even though I am in my early 30s… (but sometimes feel like I’m still in my 20s) I felt old… even more so when I thought I’d see if he knew what a floppy disk was, and he looked at me as if I had said something in a different language!

However, this conversation sparked an interesting talking point about ‘Generation Sensible’.

Everyone knows about millennials – we’ve been the focus for a long time in the media, advertising and marketing industry. I very much fit into that generation, so I know how my peers and I behaved in our college and university years.

So it was strange for me to read that it is emerging that younger people who fit into Generation Sensible really are sensible. They drink less, smoke less, the number of teen pregnancies are falling, and they are staying out of trouble – all of which look to be bucking the typical stereotypes of how the 16-25 age group behaves.

Instead they are spending more time with their families and more concerned about their online relationships. I joked about the floppy disk, but when you really look at it, what us millennials see as technology evolution is in fact all they know. Having a screen so accessible as a means of entertainment and a way of staying connected with their peers is what keeps them busy.

This shift in behaviour will have an impact on brands, and how this generation interacts with them. Channel 4 have done some research into young people and how brands build strong connections with young consumers. They found that more than half of their survey respondents believed brands should be a force for good in the world, rather than pushing products and services – which feels a fitting attitude with Generation Sensible. The survey also found that young people believe brands should use their advertising to raise awareness of social or ethical issues – therefore becoming more purpose-driven in their advertising and marketing.

There will of course need to be a balance as to what brands communicate – many are commercial business that need to sell. However, with this generation having such strong views and behaviours, brands and their agencies will need embrace this change of consumer and understand their way of thinking and behaviours if they want to connect with them.

Sources: BBC News: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/44880278 – “ ‘Generation Sensible’ in 5 charts”

Campaign Live: https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/young-people-big-appetite-purpose-driven-brands-channel-4-survey-finds/1488556 – “Young people still have big appetite for purpose-driven brands, Channel 4 survey finds

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