Home IMJ Features Opinion: Advertising & Media Through the Lens of a 16-Year Old

Opinion: Advertising & Media Through the Lens of a 16-Year Old

Ruby Cullinan

Want to know how a typical 16-year old views the media and advertising industry? Ruby Cullinan, a Transition Year Student who spent the week working with IMJ and Adworld.ie shares her frank opinions about everything from TV and radio right through to advertising and the impact of influencers.

My friends and I have agreed that from a young age, things like newspapers have been locked into our heads as ‘old-people’ things. And for the 16 years I’ve been alive newspapers have only really come into my proximity when I was creating another one of my art masterpieces and my mum didn’t want to have to deep-clean the house again.

The only way I really know about anything that’s going on in the world is because my dad leaves the news on while he works at the kitchen table and as I sit there for 15 minutes after school, procrastinating, I hear about all the latest antics of Mr Trump and Brexit and anything else that’s going on in the big bad world.

Magazines, however, have always been glamorous, somewhat luxury items. Magazines were right up my eight-year-old alley and whenever my mum’s subscription of Red would arrive, she was never the first to read it and I mostly still feel the same way about them, I don’t really read or buy them much.  But I’ll look at the pretty pictures all day.

And then there’s radio. In my opinion, radio will soon be completely relegated to the car. On-demand music is taking over and now that you can even connect Spotify and iTunes to your car radio through your phone, I think one of the only reasons people listen to certain radio stations is to hear the radio hosts have a good chat. They could be the main reason video hasn’t killed the radio star just yet.

Too lazy to watch your ad, sorry.

We’ve all become so impatient and demanding. For example, my family will record a programme to watch 20 minutes after just so we can skip the ads, and that’s only if its not already on Netflix!.

I’d say I’ve watched actual TV with my friends an overall six times since I went into secondary school. Why would we search for half an hour only to ‘settle’ on whatever looks best when we can go onto the android box and watch the latest movie without being interrupted by ads and wasting time.

The only time I ever really watch TV is when my mum has heard of a small murder mystery series that ‘could be good’ and we record the episodes and watch them throughout the week, even though we know all too well it will never live up to Sherlock.

As for YouTube, the only way I won’t immediately press the skip ad button on the screen, is if the ad completely captures me within the five seconds it has to do so, and the only way it does that is by making me ask questions that I have to watch on to get answers for.

I think ads need to become more realistic and simplistic. Sometimes the way things like perfume and cars, especially, are advertised is just with rich people in expensive clothes, doing expensive things and going to expensive places. I can’t relate, and then I become disinterested. Sure, its desirable to be able to do all that and go to there but because it’s so unattainable the product becomes unattainable too. When ads have a meaning, I tend to be much more drawn to the product or service. If it’s part of a simple message that is even semi-meaningful or funny (and when I say funny, I mean actually funny) it will stick in my head.

Influencers are called influencers for a reason.

All my friends and I are constantly contactable and in contact with each other because of social media. Apps like Instagram and Snapchat would definitely be the most popular at the moment, because our generation can’t seem to keep things to ourselves and both of these are aimed towards sharing your every move with your friends. However, social media is constantly changing and growing, and apps are always being deleted or forgotten about.

Some of my friends have Facebook, but I only ever really hear them complain about it and, honestly, I’m too lazy to get it myself. I have a feeling it’s slowly dying so why bother.

There’s so many so called, ‘influencers’ all over Instagram and YouTube and people of my age really are influenced by them. An example of their influence on us is how the merchandise they are promoting is actually being bought, just so people can showcase their love for that particular blogger or YouTube star. I personally don’t follow any bloggers or Instagram influencers, but I am subscribed to lots of YouTube channels and me and my friends always discuss videos that have been recently posted or that we found particularly interesting.

If a YouTuber recommended a product to me, however, and I knew very well that they have been sponsored I can’t say I’d be too pushed to get it. But a lot of the time when I’m thinking of buying clothes off a somewhat dodgy site, I’ll watch a few clothing hauls before hand and that can be the make or break of my consumer decision.

The ways in which audiences are reached is constantly changing, and companies need to keep up with the new sites, apps and media that are important to their target audience, even if it’s not important for very long.

The Future will be different.

Ten years from now, I think the media will be completely different. I think podcasts and online sites will be all that’s left and TV will be streamed. They might even have to start putting breaking news on Netflix, or whatever streaming site we’re using then, because how else will people get the message?

No more billboards, because now every time you leave the house you will bombarded with pop-up hologram ads, coming out of your smart glasses or iPhone or Apple Watch. I think adverts will almost be shouting at you, and now with them knowing what we search and personalising everything, they might even be telling you that your aunty really does want that scarf from Zara for Christmas this year.

Personalised ads will have taken over and, although helpful, it’s pretty scary. Privacy no longer has any value and if you think your extra super strong password with three numbers and a capital letter in it will protect you, I’m afraid your quite mistaken. It’s time for us to give in to living completely in the open and for media to completely change.

Ruby Cullinan is a Transition Year Student attending St Joseph of Cluny, Secondary School, Killiney.                                         

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