Communicating with Young People Through the Eyes of Marketing Practitioners
This paper acknowledges the importance young people play in the eyes of marketing practitioners. It seeks to establish how practitioners perceive and develop communication strategies targeting young people. In depth interviews were carried out with senior managers in four types of marketing agencies across Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. The research confirms that practitioners hold a spectrum of viewpoints on youth media sophistication. The assumption that young people are sophisticated and involved consumers of advertising is not universally accepted. Literacy levels and lack of engagement are cited as challenges for practitioners. Practitioners were found to take different stances in developing strategies subject to their understanding of young people. Four stances were identified (using 'the brand' as a literary style): 'brand as navigator', 'brand as weaver', 'brand as host' and 'brand as owned'. The findings question the implications of certain stances taken in a changing, increasingly digital media landscape.