How to hook Generation Z: killer collaboration ideas for rights holders
The competition to capture hearts and minds or ‘eyeballs’ has probably never been tougher due to factors such as the ever-fracturing media landscape, dwindling attention spans and more competitive marketing.
This becomes hyper-difficult when targeting Generation Z – set to become the biggest generation globally this year, according to Bloomberg – a nuanced bunch who are increasingly turning away from trend-lead consumerism and narcissism.
However, this realisation has led to some creative thinking and killer collaboration ideas among rights holders and brands to reach new audiences.
So, to help rights holders kick-start some left-field thinking around which partners may be the most fruitful for targeting Generation Z, caytoo reveals some of its favourite hook-ups.
Quality goes street
We love this one partly because it just doesn’t make any sense on the surface: where’s the fit between skateboarder wannabees and people unlikely to fly economy?
But that didn’t stop luxury suitcase brand RIMOWA launching a range of cases with super-cool streetwear brand Supreme. They sold out in 16 seconds, despite costing $1,800.
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Highsnobiety’s Ross Wilson astutely pointed out that RIMOWA is a status symbol for travelling connoisseurs, so it’s a great fit for the more aspirational demographic among Supreme’s audience. In turn, a 25-year-old had just been made co-chief exec of RIMOWA and wanted to modernise the 100-year-old company and employ more innovative ways of appealing to a younger demographic.
Now it makes perfect sense. A collaboration between two totally different brand identities who wanted to appeal to each other’s very different audiences. A classic ‘case’ of you scratch my back….
Again, this one may not seem like mutual bedfellows but casual clothing brand Uniqlo and the Tate Modern partnered to reach each other’s audiences. The link being shared values such as innovation and creativity.
“Tate Lates” is an initiative where the museum stays open after normal hours, featuring drinks, films, hands-on workshops and international DJ sets to boost London’s overall accessibility to creativity, particularly among contemporary audiences.
This is another example of how a rights holder should be looking beyond the usual partner suspects to find those with “aspirations” but who also ideally share the same values so there is some form of tangible fit.
For rights holders looking to target younger fans, it’s about finding partners who reach that audience but are also looking to target new audiences that are a core of your own fanbase. For example, Korean subscription shaving brand Dorco is looking to target the UK with a ”dual gender” approach so rights holders with evenly-split audiences are likely to be more appealing. In terms of participation levels, sports such as taekwondo, swimming and climbing score highest here so these may well be the most appropriate. Rights holders here, in particular, should take note…
Blues and Twos
Again, this involved two parties on the same side of the traditional buy and sell equation but this time two rights holders cosying up.
Puzzled looks greeted teaser logos ‘True Blue’ and ‘Out of the Blue’ on the two cars of Swiss F1 team, Sauber. Puzzlement was soon replaced with sage-like nods after its partnership with Chelsea FC was revealed. The London-based football club was eager to boost its global audience and an F1 team was seen as an ideal way to do this. It also allowed the two to explore joint commercial partnerships.
Although this isn’t specifically about targeting younger fans, this is a favourite simply being one of the first we can remember where two rights holders from very different sports came together for mutual gain.
F1 itself as a rights holder can take a lesson here. The sport’s new owners are trying to gain a new younger audience and part of this has seen the ‘festivalisation’ of some race weekends involving music events, such as Dutch electro house DJ, Hardwell, playing at the Mexico Grand Prix.
An extension of this could be to partner with a sport such as skateboarding to co-host international skateboarding events at a Grand Prix weekend. Skateboarding has one of the highest concentration of 16-24-year-old participants (see chart below). This would give F1 access to a younger audience literally on the doorstep. They could even look at creative activations involving skateboards produced by F1 teams or engineers, experts in wheel technology.
Snow and Rock
Nothing to do with the high street retailer, this involves the Snowboxx music festival and Rockstar Energy Drinks. As Jackie Fast, who brokered the deal explained in her book Pinpoint, the event had low recognition, low awareness and little advertising budget.
Rockstar needed a cool partner to get prime positioning in retail stores without having to pay, such as through ticket giveaways. Snowboxx could provide this. In turn, Snowboxx’s need for marketing and brand exposure was met by Rockstar’s co-branded POS displays in stores and on their packaging. A brilliant example of mutualism, so much so it won a European Sponsorship Award.
The lessons here are twofold. Firstly, are you searching hard enough for a partner (be it a brand or other rights holder) who has a pain point that your audience, assets or even geography could target?
Secondly, it’s about prioritising sponsors who have a young audience. It sounds obvious to say but going after the premium ‘usual suspects’ sponsors beloved of rights holders (banks, insurance providers, luxury watches etc) might well provide money and associated prestige but will they help reach or inspire Gen Z?
After all, disruptor Atom Bank didn’t turn to a financial expert to attract a young audience, they turned to musician-turned-pretty-much-everything, will.i.am.
Video games seem to be the next great frontier for sports and brands to target younger fans and a sharp example of this is the NFL. One of the many issues the sport faces is falling interest among this group and an innovative way they’ve attempted to tackle this is through a partnership with the Fortnite phenomenon.
Gamers can now purchase and customise up to eight outfits representing their favourite NFL teams. Brian Rolapp, the NFL’s Chief Media and Business Officer explained that it was “a great opportunity to expose our brand to countless others.”
This type of activity speaks to theeSports phenomenon which many rights holders are jumping into to increase their relevance with newer audiences. One of sport’s oldest and most traditional bodies, The FA, has even launched its own eSports team (if they can do it, anyone can). While football clubs such as Paris St Germain have teams well outside their own sport, including online battle and shoot ‘em up games including League of Legends and Brawl Stars.
So, the key to capturing younger audiences is all about creativity, particularly some cross-industry thinking about moving away from the usual suspects to discovering which brands and, indeed, other rights holders can deliver that elusive audience.
A will.i.am rather than William sort of mindset, if you will.
Prior to co-founding caytoo, Alex was an Analyst and VP of Global Communications at Nielsen and founded the successful PR/communications consultancy, Meteor.