Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ready for Generation Z?

Today’s MediaPost features an article in their Engage: Teens column that admittedly I found a little disturbing. Three Predictions about Generation Z purports that this up-and-coming group of teens are like a super-powered version of their Generation Y predecessors (I can’t help think of the scene in Eclipse with the “newborn” vampires are coming out of the water, stronger and feistier than their elder vampire counterparts).

Anyway. These forthcoming uber teens (who are younger than preteens, the offspring of the X Generation, ages 5 and under) are apparently 1. More technologically savvy than any other generation, 2. Adverse to criticism, and therefore likely to sabotage a brand or a marketing campaign and 3. Will continue to find loopholes so that they can access information more quickly. Numbers one and three I’m totally fine with; it’s just number 2 (excuse the pun) that stopped me in my tracks. These kids are barely potty trained! It's quite the stretch to predict that with "one slip of the tongue, they're likely to stomp on your foot, leave the room, and start an empire quicker than you can say Facebook." Yeah, maybe that's because most of these Generation Zers are still in preschool and therefore tantrums are not uncommon.

When it comes to generational trends, I prefer Penelope Trunk's Generation Z summary of predictions. She gives us some historical perspective but doesn't make any big claims. And really, as youth marketers, do we really need to start focusing on Generation Z now? Unless you've got an early learning program, children's book series or family-friendly movie coming out soon, I think not.

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