See what teens say about brands, ads and the mediaverse in an online chat…

The best way to find out what young people like is to ask them. Strategy teamed up with Toronto-based Youthography for a chat about advertising with some of the members of their national network. We learned what it takes for a brand to win over the kids these days

Note to brand: b urself

The best way to find out what young people like is to ask them. Strategy teamed up with Toronto-based Youthography for a chat about advertising with some of the members of their national network. We learned what it takes for a brand to win over the kids these days


Feroz Q, 17, Mississauga, ON

Feroz is a member and leader of many clubs at his high school. He also attends seminars to further his education.

Niki B, 16, Dartmouth, NS

Niki likes to keep our planet green through various organizations. She loves to shop and compose music.

Mohammed H, 15, Toronto, ON

Mohammed is captain of four sports teams and coaches two others. He is also into fashion.

Jordan H, 12, Sherwood Park, AB

Jordan loves to play soccer, hang out with friends and play Xbox.


Admin: Hi there and welcome to the strategy online chat…My name is Jacquelyn and I work for Youthography. let’s start with brands…when I say ‘brand’ what words first come to mind?

MohammedH: clothing

JordanH: shoes

FerozQ: new…..brand new

NikiB: materialism

Admin: what makes a brand kick ass for you?

MohammedH: the style

JordanH: ya the style

FerozQ: what my friends think about it. sad to admit but true

JordanH: quality

NikiB: the ethics

FerozQ: their ‘rep’ has to be cool too

NikiB: im not relly interested in what my friends think about my clothing

Admin: what brands are biggest for you right now?

MohammedH: converse for shoes, theres also nike and adidas, and for clothing theres h&m, urban behaviour, urban planet, bluenotes etc

FerozQ: adidas am eagle hollister

JordanH: circa. at stores i always see that brand stick out or west 49

NikiB: Sabian, Pre-loved, uhmm

Toronto-based Preloved, a clothing label that makes new fashion out of recycled vintage textiles to the delight of eco-conscious starlets everywhere, recently appeared on Project Runway Canada.

Admin: everyone…do you use brands to express yourself? if so, how?

MohammedH: yeah i do, but also how i dress up to express myself

FerozQ: well, clothes say a lot about u so yeah

JordanH: same here

FerozQ: it’s a form of how i feel that day as well. i started wearing a kuffiyah as a sign of solidarity with the Palestinians

Admin: ok…what about what the company stands for? does that matter?

NikiB: YES it totally matters

FerozQ: yes

JordanH: me too

Admin: ok…what matters? tell me what makes you choose a brand over another?

NikiB: if a company tests anything on animals, i will NOT use it

FerozQ: if they have good consumer practices. recycling, worker rights

NikiB: and some brands have a high respect for the environment, which i respect a lot.

FerozQ: no sweatshops

JordanH: it looks good

FerozQ: +1 to nikki’s comment

NikiB: thanks : ]

Admin: how about where a brand advertises? does that influence if you like a brand or not?

FerozQ: not as much

NikiB: not really. i guess if someone was like, advertising sex toys in a school zone it wouldn’t be cool.

JordanH: if it is everywhere it’s not the best, especially if it is a bad store

MohammedH: i like seeing advertisements at displays of stores. it catches my eye, like on manikins, i can see how it would look

FerozQ: well, if i see their ads a lot, that means they have taken the time to advertise to me. i feel wanted so i guess i respect that

Admin: when you guys are watching TV …do you pay attention to ads? which ones stand out for you?

MohammedH: yes i do

FerozQ: witty ones

MohammedH: sometimes for food, new clothing, never any of those infomercials though

JordanH: no i mute the tv or walk out of the room so i dont spend my money on dumb things

FerozQ: like the competing beer ones are hilarious bud vs coors etc. not that i drink, but i just find em entertaining

Admin: What about commercials? have you ever watched an ad on youtube?

MohammedH: not really

NikiB: Oh i did! we were told to in english10. some beer commercial about how many ways you can say dude.

Admin: hey do you guys talk to your friends about ads?

Niki: no. lol

MohammedH: sometimes! when it’s special

FerozQ: yeah, like real artists like how they got slash’s figure to be in guitar hero 3. that’s like ad heaven

NikiB: i hate when celebrities are in ads. they’re role models, and sometimes things just aren’t appropriate. like that ad for some video game, and mr.t is in it

Mr. T pities the fool that didn’t see his 2007 ad for Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft, which had nearly 2.2 million hits on YouTube at press time.

MohammedH: i like it when celebrities are in ads, but they act like themselves, not made into an actor that they’re told to be

FerozQ: i actually like when celebs are in ads. they just have to be well utilized. u guys remember that kevin federline ad? some insurance company? ‘life comes at u fast’ he’s in a fast food restaurant working

MohammedH: i like the one with p diddy in that burger king commercial

Diddy (or Sean Combs) is CEO of Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group and a successful marketer in his own right, with a record label, two clothing lines, a film production company and two restaurants, not to mention his agency, Blue Flame Marketing.

Admin: Do you watch shows on the web (streaming or downloading shows)?

FerozQ: Not really, havent tried it yet

NikiB: not at all.

JordanH: only from itunes. happy tree friends and step brothers

Launched in 2000, Happy Tree Friends is a web-based Flash cartoon with a cult following in which cute characters commit violent acts à la Simpsons ‘toon-in-’toon Itchy and Scratchy.

MohammedH: oh i never really get the time to anymore, when im on the computer i just talk to friends on msn or facebook for example, if i watch shows i just decide to watch them on tv

Admin: are you streaming stuff from youtube?

MohammedH: yeaahh. usually for me, music videos

NikiB: nothing usually. i mostly search music on youtube.

FerozQ: music videos, funny videos, etc. i also watch a webseries from these college students its like a show on youtube

We’re guessing it’s Jake and Amir, a no-frills comedy series starring Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld that gets funnier the less sense it makes. Check it out at or

JordanH: funny cartoons or people doing dumb things

Admin: has an ad ever changed your mind about a brand?

FerozQ: i see thru those ads where they say that they are all environmentally friendly and all that jazz so not really. i stick to my preconceived notions about brands

NikiB: oui

Admin: what preconceived notions…where do they come from?

FerozQ: uh from parents, friends

MohammedH: as much as they try to make people think theyre doing good, the people who know about companies know that every company, no matter who, just sell their stuff for the money

Admin: How can you tell if a brand is living up to its promise to be ‘green’?

NikiB: they usually give info on it in the ad

MohammedH: they usually have supporters from those green organizations in the ads

FerozQ: third party certification

JordanH: if ur friend buys it watch him do stuff with it and if it breaks then don’t buy it

NikiB: the status isn’t that important, it’s what they do

Admin: think about a celeb, band, etc. you love and respect… if they were in an ad for a brand that you didn’t really like…would that change your mind about the brand?

FerozQ: yea I think so. i love russell peters and he can sell anything to me… haha just kidding but almost anything

At press time it wasn’t known if Canadian comedian Russell Peters sold the youth demo on the Juno Awards telecast on March 29, which he hosted this year for the second time (he won a Gemini for his turn as host last time around).

NikiB: no, i would think about the person depending on what they’re selling

MohammedH: noo, i wouldnt wanna be like them, i just respect them for who they are. sure jimmy page is an amazing guitarist and i wanna be as good as him at that, but who is he is only him

JordanH: no cause its the same brand and it is not going to make a change when there is a different person

Admin: If a brand was trying to advertise to someone like you, what advice would you give them?

FerozQ: dont try too hard, just be urself. Seriously dont change ur brand just because u wanna sell to me. Stay true to what u are. if u change for me, its kinda desperate

JordanH: ya

NikiB: don’t try and sell something that is too violent, or abuses animals, or hurts the environment.

MohammedH: i would give them advice to just be themselves, cuz if they act totally different, it’ll change my perspective of them when i get what theyre advertising, which can lose trust

JordanH: make it more environmentally friendly

Admin: Any last words….?

NikiB: stay green <3

MohammedH: this was cool

JordanH: cya ttyl

FerozQ: peace

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American Eagle

Joshua Perets