Above all, 2018 has been a year where loads of big brands have started paying attention to the purchasing power of Gen Z, and our favourite marketing moments reflects this. More pragmatic than their Millennial counterparts, but at the same time more globally aware due to growing up connected with digital technology their entire lives, the oldest of this generation are poised to join the workforce and bring their time and money to businesses that align with how they want to live their lives.
They’re also the largest generation, comprising around 20% of Australia’s population and almost 30% of the world’s population. And with their unique attitudes towards various forms of advertising, it’s best that businesses wise up on how they can best engage Gen Z with their marketing efforts.
The following brands have done just that, and there are a number of things we can learn from their success.
Shot on iPhone X
This campaign features footage of real life same-sex couples getting married just months after we voted ‘Yes’ to marriage equality and ahead of the 40th Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. Set to Courtney Barnett covering INXS’s Never Tear Us Apart, the mood is intimate and powerful, with simple yet effective visual storytelling. Apple have done a good job of aligning themselves on the right side of social issue for Gen Z whilst also removing themselves from the forefront of the conversation; there are no actual iPhones featured in the ad, and instead it’s just stated at the end that it was shot on iPhone X. Class.
Nike collaborates with Colin Kaepernick
This campaign had us all so excited we actually published a case study about it shorty after it was released. It features controversial NFL player Colin Kaepernick who rose to notoriety in 2016 for protesting racial inequality and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem. The beauty of this campaign is that it completely alienates a conservative and decidedly older demographic – with shouts of boycotts and videos of people burning their Nike gear – yet still turned in a net profit by validating the more valuable youth market.
ALDI Australia is ‘Good Different’
This year ALDI touted a new company positioning by embracing being ‘Good Different’. It acknowledges that they are different to other supermarket chains in terms of their shopping experience and product offering, yet turns this into a strength as these defining characteristics are recognised as what shoppers specifically go to ALDI for. While not as socially charged as the previous examples, it still provides a positive message delivered in an amusing, light-hearted tone. It’s a yes from us.
Patagonia donates its $10 million tax cut
While not necessarily an ad campaign, we’ve included this in the list because it features everything brands should be paying attention to in terms of positive business practices. In response to “last year’s irresponsible tax cut”, Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario announced in a LinkedIn post that the company would donate the money they saved to environmental charities – a whopping $10 million. With declining attitudes surrounding overall business ethics, this is a huge statement by Patagonia and one that builds upon their previous actions towards environmental issues. And with both Gen Z and Millennials more likely to buy products from companies committed to a positive environmental impact, it’s a win for everyone involved.
Air New Zealand’s Christmas ad
This hemisphere may not be as passionate about their Christmas ads, but this period remains a valuable time for brands to play on all the emotions that are currently running high. New Zealand Air have lent the humour and charm their country has come to be known for to this special holiday ad, and we are about it. It’s funny, cute, even political at times, and gives us all a sense of that Christmas spirit in its own way.