Get Teens to Tune In, Not Out This Holiday Season

November 3, 2006 at 3:45 am Leave a comment

Published: November 13, 2006


By Gary Rudman

If you want to reach teens this holiday season, make sure your messages are interesting and engaging, but even more importantly, simple and clear. Teens suffer from brain blur due to a proliferation of inputs bombarding them—from personal technology as well as marketers continually trying to sell them products and services.

With all of their distractions, teens simply don’t have the brain bandwidth or desire to work to understand a less-than-direct message. Marketers need to keep this in mind when targeting teens.

Teens need to be able to comprehend the message almost effortlessly. With teens, a direct correlation exists between clear communication and preference. Teens are often put off by messaging they don’t get. In fact, if teens don’t understand an ad or promotion, they’ll conclude it’s “stupid.” Even worse, they’ll harbor negative feelings toward the brand and/or product or service. Teenagers don’t want to admit, or feel as if, they aren’t smart enough to relate to a supposedly hip pitch.

Based on our research, parody, sarcasm and irony often don’t work with teens. It’s not unusual for obtuse humor to confuse or lose them. Teenagers can be extremely literal. Therefore, indirect allusions or assuming they have enough context, increases the likelihood that the message gets missed altogether. 

Teens tend to read or hear the message quite literally.

—Gary Rudman is founder and president of GTR Consulting, a qualitative research and strategic planning firm targeting kids, teens and young adults. For more information, visit Contact Rudman at (415) 713-7852 or



Entry filed under: Press.

Media Week: Planning for a Happy Holiday: A primer for marketers trying to reach teens in the digital age Parents Face Dilemma With Kids, Technology

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