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A Generation's Love Affair with Advertising

June 16, 2013, 6:00 AM

There are many things that I've learned about today's college students, the first generation to grow up with the Internet, and one is that they truly love television.  They truly love media.  They truly love music.  They think it should be free.  They don't think they should have to pay to download.  They don't think they should have to pay to watch or listen and they understand that it's being made available to them by advertising.  They understand the relationship between advertising and the content. 

They don't necessarily think that the advertising that's being given to them or being shared with them is especially relevant or especially pertinent or especially good, so they're very critical of advertising, but they're not critical in that they want it to go away.  They're critical in that they want it to be more relevant to them, more meaningful to them, more useful to them and more entertaining.

They want advertising to be content.  They want advertising to be part of their community of activities that they're engaged in around media and that advertising and marketing is part of that holistic experience of media, music, entertainment, information, education.  Advertising is a part of that ecosystem. 

They want advertising.  They like advertising.  They're willing to participate with advertisers.  They're willing to engage with advertisers.  They love being rewarded by advertisers for information or knowledge that they can share back with them, to participate in surveys, to engage in games, but they want it to be an integrated part of the ecosystem as opposed to something that intrudes on their experience and pulls them away from their experience. 

They want it to be a part of the experience and that's part of the fundamental transformation that marketers and advertisers are going to have to embrace if they're going to be successful over the next two to three decades.  

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock



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