Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Josh Spear from Undercurrent talks about the 'born digital generation' at IAB Engage in London

At IAB Engage 2007, Josh Spear of Undercurrent / www.joshspear.com told marketers and agencies that the youth generations of today were 'born digital' and they think that all media is social, digital media. This audience will 'issue passports' to advertisers, but only if brands engage with them respectfully.

In his opinion beng born digital is a mindset and gave various examples. iJustine has over 5000 followers on Twitter, Loopt.com is 'Twitter on crack' (combining Twitter type technology with GPS) and I'minlikewithyou combines dating and gaming.

The mobile phone is the centre of gravity for this generation and there are some interesting developments. However, Josh Spear does not believe that 16-24 year olds will embrace Blyk (the new service that gives 217 texts and 43 minutes of free mobile phone usage in exchange for allowing advertisers to serve them ads.) He believes that they will 'put up' with Blyk because
it gives something free, but saying they will embrace it is going to far.

The success of the Radiohead 'Rainbows' album was used to demonstrate how brands will benefit if they are brave.

He went on to argue that advertisers need to redefine their approach. The aim should be to get 'born digital' generations to reach out for them - basically create something that they want to find / use.

The presentation finished by offering 3 golden rules for advertisers targeting youth markets online:

- Think of how you could turn an interruption like a banner into a service or something useful
- Think of how your brand can make each place you advertise a better place for users to be
- Ask yourself, are you following the rules of the universe?

He left us with this final thought:

'If it's hard to advertise products to this born digital now, imagine how hard it will be to sell them things like healthcare or insurance in 10 years time........'

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