Kids care more about love and respect than owning cool brands

Ian Douthwaite

A generation of young people in Britain is growing up in a highly commercialised social environment. Individuals, the arguments go, increasingly rely on material goods as tools to gain respect and contentment, and friendships, family life and their own happiness are being adversely affected.

Inevitably, questions are being raised about what constitutes responsible marketing, and whether the youth marketing industry requires regulation to prevent further harm.

In this context, it seems appropriate to ask young people about their hopes and aspirations, the pressures they face in modern Britain and the commercial world and marketing as it affects them.

In March 2008, my company, which specialises in youth communications, started taking responses from 650 subjects aged between 11 and 17 from across the UK. The initial phase, a quantitative online survey, focuses firstly on the young people's aspirations and concerns, and the role that is played within these by commercial products and materialism.