Gen Viz

08 : 07 : 2016 Gen Viz : Teenagers : Generation D

In 2016, LS:N Global coined the term Gen Viz to describe Generation D’s insatiable appetite for visual-first content, their hacker tendencies, DIY attitude and voracious activism.

In this article:


MTV News App, Global MTV News App, Global

Generation D is the first consumer group of truly digital natives. They grew up with the iPhone rather than the iPod, and they swipe and scroll their way through tons of content each day.

Some 24% of 13–19-year-olds claim to be online almost constantly, according to the Pew Research Center, a figure that illustrates how much of their lives are spent in the digital sphere.

Every second this demographic is looking to find the next best thing in their browser, and visually driven content – from 360-degree videos to interactive magazines and virtual reality games – is winning outright.

The downside is that members of Gen Viz have a low attention span. It also means they are hyperconnected, with a global outlook and a hacker mindset.

In practice, today’s youth are far more open to new ideas, from a multicultural society to transgender rights, environmental activism and a post-body mindset.

They are also far more confident with technology, entrepreneurial and keen to use their networks and digital tools to engage with issues of identity and activism.

Gen Viz are the ultimate early adopters. Watch this space to identify and track the visual-first culture of tomorrow.

Click through the sections on this page to see how Gen Viz has been manifest since spring 2016.


Future House by Adidas, London Future House by Adidas, London

March: Adidas Originals creates a Future House club space to celebrate the launch of its latest sneakers

Visitors to the Future House could enjoy live music, go to film screenings, and sign up to workshops, with experts such as adidas consultant Gary Aspden and record producer Fraser T Smith, in order to get the tools and knowledge to create their own future.

Key Development: Teenagers are adopting a Hacker Mindset when it comes to education. They cherry-pick tutorials and events that will help them fulfil their career aspirations.

360i recruitment site, UK 360i recruitment site, UK

April: Digital marketing agency 360i creates a hyperinteractive recruitment website

Potential recruits can explore 14 departments in a 360-degree YouTube video. The company aims to encourage potential candidates to actively engage with its recruitment process rather than passively scroll through its job listings.

Key Development: Members of Gen Viz look for highly visual and gamified platforms that hold their attention and satisfy their hunger for interactive content.

Juicebox App Juicebox App

April: Juicebox launches a visual-first sex education app designed to appeal to teenagers

Images of fruit and vegetables stand in for lengthy amounts of text, highlighting teenagers’ preference for visual forms of communication. Users can quiz sexual health professionals who are members of the Association of Sexuality Educators, Counsellors and Therapists.

Key Development: Generation D kids use digital safe spaces, designed to be fun and playful, to communicate with each other on topics that matter to them.

Clearasil Let’s be Clear campaign by Droga5, US Clearasil Let’s be Clear campaign by Droga5, US

May: Skincare brand Clearasil admits that it knows nothing about marketing to teenagers

Most brands employ a number of stereotypical tropes in an effort to reach teenagers such as skateboarding, pizza and ripped jeans. This campaign pitches the brand’s face wash as a scientific product rather than one that is an important part of teenagers’ lifestyles.

Key Development: Teenagers now value realness and authenticity over perfection. In a hyperconnected world it’s easy for them to spot fakery and marketing hyperbole. by McCann Worldwide, London by McCann Worldwide, London

June: McCann creates a glossary to help marketers better understand popular Generation D terms

The team decided to create an online dictionary of slang terms alongside a video example of the words used in everyday conversation. It is hoped that as the website is shared it will continue to evolve and become an important global tool for marketers looking to understand teenagers.

Key Development: Youth culture evolves at an increasing rate due to the hyperconnected nature of Generation D. Brands are creating new insight platforms in order to keep track.

Oummra by Nazifa Begum and directed by Hayden Martin, London Oummra by Nazifa Begum and directed by Hayden Martin, London

July: Nazifa Begum’s debut fashion collection challenges assumptions about Muslim youth culture

The London College of Fashion graduate explores her cultural identity through references to both British and Bangladeshi aesthetics. Traditional Bengali poetic script and images are woven into garments that reference UK rave and club culture.

Key Development: Today’s youth are the most racially diverse of all generations and are creating projects that openly criticise traditional markers of identity.

Sofa by Ricarda Messner and designed by Studio Yukiko, US Sofa by Ricarda Messner and designed by Studio Yukiko, US

August: Studio Yukiko launches a new lifestyle magazine with the help of a 16-year-old guest editor

Teenager Andy Coronado gave an insider’s perspective on the nuances and issues that truly define what it means to be part of today’s youth, with editorial that includes an anonymous, unedited text conversation between four mixed-race teenagers from the LGBTQAI community.

Key development: Brands are beginning to realise that to truly connect with Generation D you need to employ members of Gen Viz.

Pure Spirit by Morjo Goro, Berlin Pure Spirit by Morjo Goro, Berlin

September: Pure Spirit Club launches an interactive audio-visual meditation experience

Mojo Goro communicates the spiritual element of making music through a series of visual-first pop-ups, which would usually be deemed an inconvenience by ad-blockers. Here they elevate people’s internet experience.

Key development: Even mindfulness, usually associated with introspection, can benefit from an interactive Gen Viz approach.

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