Dad holding his two young sons on the couch using a laptopHave you noticed just how easy it is for young people to dismiss advertisements?

Just this morning I heard my kids say “There are too many advertisements!” when they were waiting for a feature film to start playing. Who’s to fault them? As young parents who remember using the Internet for the first time as teenagers, we even skip ads if and when we can.
While previous generations were able to tolerate advertisements in exchange for quality entertainment, the consumers of tomorrow are growing up online where selection is huge and mainly free with immediate gratification often achieved by the power of a click.
Just how can advertisers and those they work with reach and engage digital natives?
Find out in today’s VOX Daily.

How Do Young People React To Ads?

The children, tweens and teenagers of today are among some of the most savvy, sophisticated and discerning individuals on the planet when it comes to how they allow the media to engage them, particularly when it comes to advertising. In an age with an overwhelming amount of content and ways to consume it, getting the attention of and striking a positive chord that breaks through the skepticism of today’s youth is challenging to say the least.
Ads take up time, space, and can get in the way of what the person the ad is targeting really wants. Sometimes ads can also be perceived to be bad or inappropriate for the demographic they are trying to reach. Sometimes, the ads are bang on and appeal to their target market on a practical level and can also yield more than satisfactory results.

Getting Through To Teens

One example of a successful outreach strategy using traditional media is the ongoing radio campaign for a product called Proactiv. Proactiv Solution is used by teens and individuals suffering from Acne. According to their website, Proactiv helps its users get rid of acne and pimples and say good bye to blemishes and breakouts.

Mike Elmore avatarVoice talent Mike Elmore has been the voice of Proactiv’s radio campaigns for a while now. The product, created by two dermatologists, has been marketed via infomercials since 1995 so they must be doing something right!

If you’ve heard the spots, be sure to let me know.

What Works With Kids?

When conducting my own experiments at home, I found that young children respond best to advertisements that are interactive, brief and rewarding in some way. Online games or interactive extras on DVDs are good examples of how many companies are gaining traction with the younger set and building brand equity with prospective consumers.

Lisa Biggs avatarLisa Biggs does a lot of work in this area. Lisa shared, “Pretty much everything I have voiced (or am voicing) is aimed towards children/parents. Of course, my voice offers a different perspective since I am a ‘kid’ in the VO Market. Also, I tend to book a lot of campaigns for public health awareness since having a child tell you things you ought to know or at least be more aware of seems to add more gravity to the message.”

More Ideas For Connecting

Print materials can still be effective with kids given they provide a launching pad for further engagement online. Take cereal boxes for instance. One that comes to mind is a Cheerios (a General Mills brand) campaign running in Canada at present where you can go online and enter in a special code to receive a free beach towel. While there is no voiceover or literal interaction on the source ad itself, it directs people to go online to where they can be further engaged and experience the brand in a more complex manner.

Tim Horton Children's Foundation LogoWhen the visitor lands on the page they find themselves in an environment that resonates with kids looking to either get a towel for themselves or donate a towel to the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation.

Whichever option the child chooses note that General Mills has achieved their goal(s) of connecting with a prospect, helping them to gain something of value or facilitating the donation of a towel to brighten the day of a deserving child.
Cheerios also employs the use of online games on their site to engage children and youth.

What About You?

I know that there are a lot of great stories out there just waiting to be shared. If you’re part of an advertising campaign targeted to youngsters, tweens or teenagers that has proved effective, be sure to comment and let me know all about it!
Best wishes,
© Valder

Previous article13 Things NOT To Do In Your Audition
Next articleNever Give Up!
Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.


  1. It isn’t just the younger generations that are tuning out ads.. Since the PVR had come along I only watch programs I have pre-recorded, and skip over all the ads. First it affords me more time actually viewing what I enjoy and second I tend to ask others for their recommendations re items, services etc. that I want to buy. Word of Mouth Advertising is getting a big chunk of the pie too.
    Radio ads are probably the only ones I still find useful. I am totally aware of the Proactiv spots so good on you Mike Elmore, the product is not just for teens and I have adult friends who swear by it.
    I must say the General Mills strategy is a good one and offers lots of interesting bits for both kids and Adults, with their newsletter..
    Excellent article Stephanie!
    Not only the young are savvy!

  2. Hi Elaine,
    Thank you for reading and for commenting! I agree, this sort of ad avoidance isn’t unique to the younger generation, that being said it is typical of their generation. Advertisers really do have to innovate to reach any audience these days but the kids are particularly judgmental and seem to have developed radar for sales pitches and persuasive messaging. They’ve also found a way to combat ads (apathy, immediate dismissal, etc.) and resist corporate communications. Certainly, adults have also become more savvy and resistant to ads, but these kids seem to have it down before they can even buy anything they are being pitched 🙂
    If the advertiser can involve their target audience and make them more of the process, perhaps even make them feel and believe that they are genuinely contributing to the outcome of the process and are not just been “talked” at, an advertiser will have done well and the consumer will feel more attached to the brand. Part of this is the voiceover talent’s job if the ad involves voiceover. The art of communication is really at the heart of all this and advertisers who know how to communicate to their prospects and choose to communicate via the preferred means of their target markets will see results in terms of sales and or engagement.
    Thank you again for adding to the conversation! It was a pleasure to hear your thoughts.

  3. Internet ads get skipped because they are TOO LONG! Low cost-per-second leads to sloppy storyboards. The high cost of broadcast TV used to wonderfully concentrate the minds of producers and copywriters!

  4. This isn’t about an ad (and this isn’t a sales-pitch), but I co-produced, directed, engineered and mixed a children’s theater CD with all child actors (ages 5-17) performing modern variations of popular fairy tales. Working with the kids was great, the editing (as one might imagine) was extensive, but the result was fantastic. Its called: The Fairytale Collection by the 6 Pence Players.
    I can tell you that children (including my two boys) really enjoy listening to other kids performing the stories. The CD also has music and sound effects that help set the stage; allowing their own imaginations to visualize the story. If you have young children, they will really enjoy it. Here is the link if you are interested.
    My boys are also professional voice talent and they both wonder aloud when their next gig is going to be. Just like many of the adult talent I know. 😉
    Dan Friedman

  5. Advertising so good – it makes you wanna loot the whole store. If Carling was an Advertising agency…theyd be the best agency in the world.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here