Youth University's Summer School 2008: Taking brands from ho-hum to sizzling

What happens when you take 50 marketers out of the comfort of their corporate environment for two days, add them to a room full of very zealous Honours students and expose them to the bleeding edge, youth space opinions of educators, culture icons, media gurus and tech geeks? This is exactly what HDI Youth Marketeers' first-ever Summer School set out to achieve: a shake-up.
Members from HDI Youth Marketeers’ Junior Board of Directors at Youth University Summer School 2008.
Members from HDI Youth Marketeers’ Junior Board of Directors at Youth University Summer School 2008.
Youth University Summer School 2008 delegates with Cartoon Network character, Dexter.
Youth University Summer School 2008 delegates with Cartoon Network character, Dexter.
HDI Youth Marketeers’ Junior Board of Directors with Summer School speaker & 5FM DJ, Gareth Cliff.
HDI Youth Marketeers’ Junior Board of Directors with Summer School speaker & 5FM DJ, Gareth Cliff.
“The most superb and inspiring two days I've had in years!” concluded one marketing delegate of her experience at Youth University Summer School which took place last week from 17-18 September. Youth market specialists, HDI Youth Marketeers, developed the platform, Youth University, in late-2007 to provide marketers with access to a broad range of marketing tools and insights in the youth space, one of which is Summer School.

Summer School 2008 steered clear of the run-of-the-mill conference format and enhanced the eclectic mix of speakers with interactive exercises, brand speed dating, exhibitor demos, a jam session with MTV DJs over lunch and a youth art exhibition. Speakers gave the delegates first-hand insights into what it takes to really engage with the youth market. “Where most advertising is like wallpaper, radio's familiarity gets into people's heads,” argued 5FM DJ Gareth Cliff whose heart-felt discussion reaffirmed the importance of radio's role in the youth market space. “The answer is ‘un'advertising,” argued Gavin Rooke, MD from Trigger during his discussion on the Be True campaign for Nike which won a Grand Prix in Communication Design at this year's Loeries.

Founder of Vega Brand Communications School, Gordon Cook spoke about youth not just as consumers but as future colleagues. “You can't educate people into creativity, but we are successfully educating people out of creativity,” he argued. He challenged marketers to rethink their traditional approach to coaching new employees in order to spark high levels of thinking and better productivity: “Their headspace, not their tea-making skills, is what they bring to the party!” His sentiment was reiterated by Tholoana Qhobela from the Consumer Insight Agency who said, “All intelligence, including brand intelligence, is out there amongst the people.” Tholoana shed light on marketers' dependency on LSMs and offered them a new approach for profiling their young audience with a set of NOW archetypes, including: Model C Go-Getter, Wildchild and Loxion Dreamer.

The speaker line-up was punctuated by gaming sessions on XBox 360 kiosks, really real case studies and exhibitor talks. The panel discussion with HDI Youth Marketeers' Junior Board of Directors - sporting gear sponsored by the Coolest Fashion Label*, Billabong - was a hit, with delegates urging for it to be extended.

“We had a great time and received very positive feedback, with lots of A+ ratings, and some learnings too. All of which mean Summer School 2009 will be even better!” promised Jason Levin, MD of HDI Youth Marketeers.

For more information on Youth University contact Teresa Valente on (011) 706 6016 or email .


*Sunday Times Generation Next 2008

25 Sep 2008 17:00

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