I’m a bit late on this one (come on, I’ve been in Belgrade), but, along with everyone else, I loved the story that Morgan Stanley used their summer intern, a 15-year-old boy, to inform them how ‘youths’ consumed media in today’s heady times. Boldly, Morgan Stanley described the report as ‘groundbreaking’ and even went as far as presenting it to their media clients (and charging them for it, I wonder…)
While it’s too easy to take pot shots at this (how much insight can a 15 year-old give us other than how much porn he watches, for example) I think it’s a great piece of PR. For a start, using a 15-year-old to do a piece of work is two fingers up at the plethora of companies charging huge sums for this kind of thing, but it’s also a really strong piece of lateral thinking from someone at MS – I mean, why can’t a 15- year-old give us advice on these kind of issues?
Tim Dowling at the Guardian did a great follow up piece on the story, ‘testing’ the findings on his own ’14 year-old media expert’ (who insisted on anonymity). I’ve listed his comments below – along with (as if you’re interested) the habits of a 27-year-old, male, working in PR (that’s me, ok?).
Television Robson describes teenage viewing as erratic, claiming “they will watch a particular show at a certain time for a number of weeks . . . but then they may watch no television for weeks after the programme has ended.” My expert says: “People don’t go for weeks without watching telly.”
Urghhhh, I don’t ever get home from work in time for TV – though do make time for Mad Men and have a weird obsession with reality TV cop shows like Cops with Cameras, Road Wars, Traffic Cops – I could go on. Maybe this means something?
Gaming With consoles that connect to the internet, says Robson, online chatting between gamers is beginning to impact on mobile use: “One can speak for free over the console and so a teenager would be unwilling to pay to use a phone.” My consultant remains unconvinced: “I don’t know any teenagers who use their Xbox instead of a phone.”
Ha! As if I have time for gaming. But a lot of my friends still do (most of them are ‘between jobs) and they mainly play on the Wi, or Xbox 360. Though I agree with the Guardian, how many people are going to use their consoles instead of phones?
The internet My insider concurs with Robson’s assertion that “many teenagers use YouTube to watch videos” but disagrees with the idea that those videos are “mainly anime”. “It’s mainly people humiliating themselves,” he says.
I’ve got to agree with the Guardian again here, I’m obsessed with Youtube and a quick check on my last search was largely people humiliating themselves, with; “When Swans Fight Men” and “Bears Attacking People”.
Newspapers Robson insists that “No teenager that I know of regularly reads a newspaper.” My own operative has ceased cooperating by this point, but thanks to Robson I feel able to offer my own conclusions safe in the knowledge that no teens will discover them here. Today’s young persons rarely, if ever, pay for anything they can get for free. The big question then, is this: why do we care what they like?
Ok, so along with every other person in PR, I literally read every newspaper, magazine and parish leaflet out there, ON A DAILY BASIS. I fear there is such a thing as too much knowledge and I feel my brain filling up at an alarming rate.
I’m off to sell my report to a large media company now.