Do London riots mean an end to ‘yoof’ ads like Grey London’s for Lucozade?

After all, if you had a real life version of the James Cleaver Quintet rolling down the streets of London on a collection of unorthodox transport devices just now, as you do in Grey London’s current ad for Lucozade, they would almost certainly be arrested.

Brave of GSK to still be running it. Or haven’t they noticed the problem?

We’ve already seen Levi’s pulling its ‘Go forth’ campaign in the UK because there’s a shot of someone facing a line of cops.

And really edgy stuff like Nazca Saatchi Brazil’s latest for Nike, featuring druggy references, would never get past first base in a country, the UK, that seems to have decided that the only sensible thing to do with a young person is lock them up.

These days, as an increasingly panicky UK prime minister David Cameron calls for a jihad on all things yoof, ‘flash mob’ really has become ‘flash rob’ in many people’s eyes, which presumably will lead to advertisers like O2 and indeed Unilever rethinking their crowd-featuring and even crowd-sourcing strategies.

Is this a stupid restriction on creative freedom by middle-aged, middle class old farts who are determined to pass the buck for their own shortcomings onto a younger generation?

Or a belated recognition that marketers like Nike, Adidas, every mobile company on earth and numerous fashion brands have led an impressionable younger generation up the garden path by cynically bonding with them to make them aspire to stuff they can’t afford?

Is this not-so-hidden persuasion at its most destructive?

It’s certainly an issue for youth-oriented advertisers trying to bond with their target audience.

And maybe one for the politicians too, although actually understanding Generation X (or Y or Z) doesn’t seem to be very high on their agenda at the moment.

You May Also Like

About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.