Whose Teens Are These , Anyway?

Posted by: David Kiley on January 31, 2006


The following findings from a new study by ad agency energyBBDO, Chicago makes me re-think what I thought I knew about the teenagers in my family and neighborhood. How about you?

1. USA Teens, rather than trend leaders, seem to be “outliers.”
While outside the US, teens are into excitement and fun, USA teens seem to favor faith, spirituality, traditional values, even serving in the military. Versus global teens they are much more likely to think abortion is never justifiable, and to think it is best to remain a virgin as long as possible.

2. Overall global teens seem to be suffering from Brand Apathy. Less than half want to wear brand logos, and the major feel there is too much advertising in the world.

3. USA Brands no longer dominate the global teen top 10. Sony, Nokia and Adidas are tops. Coca-Cola, the perennial #1, is now #8. McDonald’s doesn’t even make the top 10.

4. Globally, European teens seem to be the attitudinal and cultural trend setters. They have more progressive attitudes and are technologically more advanced.

5. There is a great global “Un-ease” among teens. Only 14% agree “I think the world is becoming a better place.” Large majorities are worried about war, terrorism and violence.

6. In response to this un-ease, global teens are becoming determined and steadfast about the future. Their #1 attitude: “I would fight for a cause I believe in,” agree to by almost 6 out of 10.

7. Globally, teens are obsessed with money and jobs. The top life expectations involve getting rich and being financially secure. Among their top worries is getting a good job.

8. Teen “cliques” of Jocks, Brainiacs and Geeks are global phenomema. They exist is all the cultures studies. Jocks are the most prevalent and the group most claim to be part of.

9. Relationships, global teens across all 13 countries place their #1 priority on spending time with Mom. (There is over their girlfriend/boyfriend or best friend.) Over half consider their parents friends.

10. “Pillars” of global teen popular culture, eating foreign foods and listening to foreign music are teens’ passions. These two surpass foreign movies, TV shows and sports teams and global culture drivers they favor.

The complete study can be viewed here.

Reader Comments

D. Harry

February 1, 2006 12:26 AM

David, I would question Point 4.

Including the word “seem” in the assessment that "Globally, European teens seem to be … cultural trend setters" keeps it safe. This allows me to not fully disagree. I could fully agree with the assessment that “[they] seem to be attitudinal.” This seems to have historically been the case in certain parts of European culture.

Must admit I didn’t check out the full study yet. But I doubt doing so will change my mind in this regard.

Interesting points overall.


February 3, 2006 1:18 PM

did you have to illustrate this post with a photo of the geekiest teens in america?


February 11, 2008 11:00 AM

I just saw this interesting article and would like very much to see the complete study. I am very interested on it. Did someone downloaded, or Know where i can find it. I'm afraid the link does not work anymore...


August 3, 2009 7:43 PM

Does anyone know where that original study can be found? The link in the article does not work.

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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