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The Future of Advertising: If Kids Don't Care, We Have None
By: Brian Keller
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Recently we had the opportunity to go to a high school and speak about advertising to a group of (100) students that ranged from (ages 14–18) 9th grade to 12th grade. They were polite and nodded heads and smiled some. We were very happy.
 
We then found out that the classes were four sections of honors physics and they were skipping physics to attend this lecture. Well, that was a letdown, but we knew that sharing our uber-exciting and very important insights on our uber-important jobs as “influencers” would have the place rocking.

Our lecture, complete with some visual aids, was a fun experience and we knew we had won “hearts and minds.” Then we decided to ask questions just to illustrate how important advertising is to the youth of this world. And as we knew it would, it started out great.

“What is advertising?”
“You use it to persuade people to buy products. Something to promote products or other stuff you sell.”
“You get advertising on TV.”

Then it went a little bit in the other direction.
 
What is social media?”

1. “It’s Facebook and Internet.”
2. “It’s in the name, dude. It’s a way to talk online.”
3. “I use it by posting pictures and talking to friends.”
4. “Facebook is for 40-year-old divorced women. I’m not on that s---.”
5. “It’s Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr.”
6. “It’s advertising, and no one pays attention to “advertising” online. I like Shaq on Old Spice, though. That’s on the Internet. I don’t like Old Spice.”
7. “I think RPG Games is good. I like Kongregate.com.”
8. “The Internet is Social Media.”
 
“Can you name an ad agency?” [in order]
1. NONE – 75 people
2. Google – 20 people
3. NEFF (skateboards) – 1 person
4. NASA – 1 person
5. NSA – 1 person
6. CIA – 1 person
7. NBA (has advertising) – 1 person
 
“Is this an ad agency?” 
1.  BBDO – “I don’t know. I don’t care.”
2.  Wachtell Lipton, Rosen & Katz –“ I don’t know.”
3.  Amblin Entertainment – “Probably, it says entertainment. Some ads are funny.”
4. TBWACHIATDAY – “I don’t know.”
5. “None of them. You’re trying to trick us. “
6.  Wieden and Kennedy – “Probably. One of these has to be one. So it is probably this one because this is last.”
 
“What are your favorite ads?”
1. “Cartoon Network for the cartoons.”
2. “Doritos where there is a time machine. Someone goes in time in a box.”
3. “Nike – some dude playing basketball and paint came out of his shoes.”
4. “Sprite – The Sprite Guy.” NOTE: When you find the Sprite Guy, you will be surprised.”
5. “A lizard for Insurance.”
6. “Bud Light – guy plays the same song.”
7. “Pepsi – they have commercials.”
 
“What are your favorite radio ads?”
1. “I don’t know any.”
2. “I turn them off. Our radios stations suck.”
3. “I download.”
4. “They all stink.”

“What are your favorite newspaper ads?”
1. “We don’t have a newspaper.”
2. “They have advertising in newspapers?”
 
“What are your favorite digital campaigns or campaigns you see on the Internet?”
1. “You Tube for photography.”
2. “I don’t know any.”
3. “What do you mean, campaign?”
4. “Why would we watch those? We click them off.”
5. “My brother showed me a chicken you make do whatever you wanted.”
 
So we asked, "What is the product?" He answered: “A chicken.”
 
“Do you know anyone who works in an ad agency?”
1. “Do you work in one? Then you, if you do.”
2. “No.”
 
“Would you ever want to work in an ad agency?” 
1. “No. It looks dumb.”
2. “I wouldn’t want, like, to make commercials about f****** cats, so no.”
3. “I would be a commercial actor guy.”
4. “If I could make a lot of money and not have to do too much.”    

NOTEThat hit home for some ad people who saw this. Many looked at the ground.
 
And the winner for: “Would you work in an ad agency?”
 
“Hell no. Only if I had my own business I would do my own advertising. I mean, why would I need a bunch of old guys like you? I mean, I would make my own money, so why would I give it away to you?”


NOTE: That hit home for some ad people who saw this. Many looked at the ground.
 
Then we struck gold.

“Name a product you bought because of advertising.”
1. “Super soaker.”
2. “Yo Yo.”
3. “Shoes. Just fab.com. I think they do online commercials.”
4. “Nike.”
5. “DC/Jordan’s/Vans.”
 
And the winner for: “Name a product you bought because of advertising.”
 
“I watched ShamWow. They said it would clean up my messes. It didn’t. They suck.“
  
We have pages of answers, but being prejudiced towards the importance of our profession and how we influence this very important demographic, we have published only the most favorable responses.
 
We think the people, or a least some people who are quite important to our livelihoods, have spoken. Next time we’re feeling a bit impressed with ourselves we should probably pull out this column and realize that “Kids Say the Darndest Things” and they're usually right. For our futures, we should listen to them.


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About the Author
Brian is the Creative Director at  teeny agency in Baltimore. He graduated from the University of Maryland (English),went to grad school at NYU (Cinema Studies), & attends  University of Baltimore School of Law.
 
Brian's been working, primarily, in the digital space for years but enjoys all communications avenues.
 
He has built the creative departments at two agencies.
 
He likes skateboarding  with his son. He also  falls off his skateboard and amuses his son.When not amusing his son or riding bikes or playing basketball or working he writes for Beyond Madison Avenue & that's why Beyond Madison Avenue appears twice in this sentence.  
 
Find him online here and at www.teenyagency.com
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