The Age of The Youth

Updated: Oct 30 2012, 07:23am hrs
All through the ages, countries have witnessed several waves of movements and cultural shifts that have gone on to redefine their future -- be it the renaissance, romanticism, realism, modernism or pop art. All these cultural movements have one thing in common - they changed the way people lived their lives and approached it, thereafter. When the Indian economy opened up things started to change. Two decades down the line, India is witnessing one of its most significant movements the age of the youth.

More than 65% of the countrys population is below the age of 35 and the average age of the Indian consumer for any product category is falling down. The youth have taken the country by the storm as they become the cynosure of a developing India. Brands and their communication are targeting younger minds who believe in living for the moment rather than for the future. Youth today believe in money and its ability of being a means of achieving a good life and happiness.

A peek at the communication in different categories is a manifestation of this shift we are pushing younger people to take insurance (as in HDFC Life's communication) or are unambiguously talking to youth and not uncles (see the Samsung smartphone ads). Categories such as housing finance, automobile, real estate, etc., that have previously targeted middle-aged audiences have shifted their focus towards youth. Conventional categories are witnessing unconventional advertising. The consumers are getting younger, forcing companies to talk to them even in categories that are not regarded young traditionally. The telecom market has seen a drastic shift with respect to its communication. Now consider the case of BlackBerry. BlackBerry came out with a campaign BlackBerry Boys, for the launch of BlackBerry services for prepaid users on Vodafone. The TV commercial started off with five top level management men shown singing the BlackBerry song with young people coming to join them. However, BlackBerrys latest commercial BB Action speaks only to the youth and engrains itself in its growing culture.

There was a time when people were happy to be able to become the CEO of a company before they retired and then buy a house, but today people want these things in their 30s. The age barrier has come crashing down in all categories and this young India has a greater disposable income now as compared to the past and wants to spend it. They want the world and they want it now! Make no mistake that this wave is not just a passing trend but a cultural movement that is here to stay.

The author is national creative director, Leo Burnett India.