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The Stuff You Can't Bottle

Advertising for the Global Youth Market

King Adz

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One of the UK’s foremost commentators on global youth and street culture explains how to create great advertising campaigns

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You can’t bottle it, you can’t Google it. What is the magic that creates a spark between brands and young people? How do you capture something that’s so dynamic it’s gone before you know it? Reporting from the front line of youth advertising, King Adz digs deep and gets to the core of what makes a successful campaign today: a big idea that forges a real connection with the audience.

The networked, multimedia era of Internet 2.0 has produced a new kind of advertising – Advertising 2.0. Not only is the medium no longer the message; the medium no longer has anything to do with it. Culture is merging with commerce, and the only way for advertisers and brands to connect with young people is to get involved with the cultures and subcultures that make up their world.

There are no tried and tested formulas. You have to speak the right language – audio and visual, real and virtual – in the right place. King Adz’s research has taken him across the globe: Europe and North America, Brazil, Russia, China, India, Hong Kong, South Africa and beyond. He has visited skate parks, clubs, gigs, and street art events. In each location he has talked to young people to find out what really fires them, and he has talked to the young advertising creatives who have succeeded in connecting with them.

Through 88 numbered topics, King Adz shares his unique insight into the cultures of young people worldwide, including viral video, augmented reality, girls and boys, sex and subcultures, as well as case histories of stand-out campaigns and brands (Vans, Stüssy, Levi’s and more). There are interviews with the 'legends' - ad execs who have cracked this notoriously tricky market – and comments throughout from creatives working right now around the world.

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'Essential reading. Both for those who think that they ‘get’ the youth market and those who know that they don’t'
Anne-Faye Townsend, BigShinyThing.com

'If most people acted the way advertisers do, they’d get punched in the mouth. Actually the best way to secure a long-term, ongoing relationship - particularly with young people - might be to start by listening rather than talking. Blend in and slowly but surely get noticed for doing something that’s interesting or funny or relevant or cool or different'
Erik Kessels, KesselsKramer

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Further Details


Format: Paperback with flaps

Size: 25.5 x 17.0 cm

Extent: 352 pp

Illustrations: 275

Publication date: 4 March 2013

ISBN: 9780500290750

Contents List

The Ten Commandments (The Youth Testament); Top 10 Youth Brands; Where to Study; Timeline of Incredible Moments (in youth culture); The Magic Triangle

About the Author

King ADZ is the author of nine books, published by Thames & Hudson, HarperCollins, and Vintage. All his books to date have been concerned with youth-culture, sub-culture and street art. He has been creative consultant for numerous global brands including Adidas, Vice, Levis, Diesel, Smirnoff and Guinness. His feature documentary, The Iconoclast, profiling the notorious international art smuggler, Michel Van Rijn, premiered at the DOC NYC festival in 2017.