Youth happiness should not be hard to achieve in ads

Joe is Marketing Week’s agency specialist.


Agencies are wising up to the value of using more playful forms of communication as a way to not only foment happiness, but elevate the status of their clients to a more valuable place in people’s hearts and minds.

In this week’s magazine, the TCA’s Happiness Index identified sociability, engagement and inspiration as being essential to engaging with 25 year olds. As I mentioned in the piece, this is hardly a groundbreaking conclusion and many of Pitch’s agency showcase work is aptly demonstrating this.

If you look at some of the most successful (and fun) campaigns this year – The Meerkats, the O2 Academy TV channel on YouTube and the Skittles Facebook activity, these are invitations to play, and are more importantly asking their audiences to interact with content that they know they’ll love.

Archibald Ingall Stretton (AIS) worked with pd3 on developing O2’s Academy TV, a boost to a fruitful sponsorship deal which gains daily mentions through artist gig promotions. AIS understand its core consumer interests perfectly, as creative director Geoff Gower explained to me.

“Experiential activity gives a brand a chance to actively engage in a relatively controlled way and hopefully create a positive buzz that spreads far wider and hangs around longer than the event itself.”

See what else Gower had to say on producing ads for young adults here.

Agencies have been executing engaging content on behalf of their clients for years, now more than ever, but increasingly they’re looking to the consumer for what the content should be rather than second-guessing.

Similarly Castrol’s work with M&C Saatchi, featuring Real Madrid galactico Cristiano Ronaldo, aims to emphasise the player’s credentials as a brand ambassador, targeting young adult fans who may otherwise have very little connection to the oil brand.

Check out the documentary starring the former Manchester United star and see what M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment CEO Steve Martin had to say about the project here.

This approach is slightly more intelligent marketing rather than the blatant sell as it focuses on getting young people to engage with one another first then naturally get them to think about the brand by association.

If you have the courage to be truly playful with your brand and comms, people are receptive and come and play with you, and play is a proven, efficient happiness generator.

Sebastian Joseph



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