Here's what teenage creators think of advertising today

It's "the most awake generation in decades," says Adolescent's Ramaa Mosley.

Generation Z is starting to become the most buzzed about demographic, yet most advertising and marketing studies today still focus on adult consumers. Creative studio Adolescent decided to hand the mic over to its teens.

Adolescent, which is dedicated to making content by young people for young people, has launched a Gen Z video series to hear exactly what this cohort has to say about advertising. The teens in the video are between 16 and 18 years old and are all on Adolescent’s roster of young creators.

According to Adolescent Founder and Executive Creative Director Ramaa Mosley, the concept for the studio is: "Who better to create campaigns and work on creative than young people, especially when it’s targeted to Gen Z? So, we decided to use the same approach with our research and insights."

Mosley added that brands have also been asking Adolescent if they can hear directly from its young creators.

From the research and video interviews, Mosley said she was most intrigued with how "incredibly sensitive this generation is to authenticity."

"That word has become totally overused, but their bullshit meter is strong and they don’t like anything that looks like it’s been taken from anyone else.  Originality is key," she said.

For example, Adolescent’s research showed that 94 percent of its creators will not use Instagram’s IGTV because they view it as a rip-off of other platforms. 

Mosley said the fact that this generation is made up of "change makers" also stood out to her. "It feels like my mom’s generation from the 70’s – they go out and march and speak out against injustice. It’s the most awake generation in decades," she said.

When asked if the perspectives of the young creators may be skewed since they’re actively involved in ads and content, Mosley said no because they’re "representing their peers." She said these teens "have followings" and are "being followed by teens who don’t create."

Overall, the studio’s network of over 500 directors and photographers are 13 to 25 years old, 53 percent women, 31 percent people of color and more than 20 percent who identify as LGBTQ. Since Adolescent’s foundation in 2013, more than 30 teenagers and young millennials have directed projects for 50-plus brands.

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