Faaez Samadi
Jan 11, 2017

Gen Z challenges SEA brands: Kantar Millward Brown

New report says Generation Z is the hardest to reach for advertisers in the region, with almost a quarter of the cohort using ad blockers.

Gen Z challenges SEA brands: Kantar Millward Brown

Generation Z represents the largest obstacle for advertisers and marketers in Southeast Asia as it is the most difficult age group to reach through advertising, according to a new report from Kantar Millward Brown.

AdReaction: Engaging Gen X, Y and Z is the agency’s first comprehensive study of Gen Z, an increasingly important consumer group for marketers as its members enter the workplace and spend their own money.

The report found that Gen Z’s daily mobile usage is, somewhat surprisingly, lower than older generations: 74 percent spend more than an hour a day on their mobile, compared to 83 percent for Gen Y and 77 percent for Gen X.

How the 3 age groups think in Thailand

Furthermore, Gen Z is consuming less TV, radio and print media than its predecessors: 52 percent watch an hour or more of TV daily, compared to 77 percent for Gen Y and 77 percent for Gen X.

Drilling down into behaviour, the report said Gen Z people detest invasive advertising and want brands to respect their online space. Mobile rewards videos and pre-video snippets that can be skipped are viewed positively, with net scores of 48 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

Conversely, pop-ups are a big issue for Gen Z in Indonesia ( where 35 percent hold a negative view) and Vietnam (22 percent negative), but those in the Philippines (5 percent negative) and Thailand (5 percent positive) are more ambivalent, highlighting the scale of the challenge facing brands looking to connect with Gen Z across Southeast Asia. 

Preferred traditional ad formats in the Philippines

Kantar Millward Brown produced a global report after surveying more than 23,000 16- to 40-year-old consumers from 39 countries. For Southeast Asia, the data comprises results from the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

For the purpose of the study, the agency categorised Gen Z as 16- to 19-year-olds, Gen Y as 20- to 34-year-olds, and Gen X as 35- to 49-year-olds.

Perhaps most worrying for brands is that many ads aren’t even being seen by Gen Z in Southeast Asia, as the report found that use of ad-blocking software stands at 23 percent on desktop computers and 18 percent on mobiles.

“It’s clear that Gen Z are not great fans of advertising content in its current state,” said Kamal Oberoi, senior director, media and digital solutions, at Kantar Millward Brown. “They don’t want brands forcing themselves into their space, nor are they keen on out-of-context ads that don’t connect with their needs and wants. The single largest opportunity for marketers in our region is to engage Gen Z with ads that feel real and honest, that invite the audience to join in if they choose.”

The report found that in terms of advertising creative, humour was the highest positive attribute for Gen Z in Southeast Asia at 58 percent, followed by the ability to tell an interesting story (51 percent) and good music (50 percent).

Moreover, despite the recent explosion of influencer marketing, just 22 percent of Gen Z members in Southeast Asia said celebrities made them feel more positive about an ad. That drops to 17 percent regarding social-media celebrities. 

Duncan Southgate, global brand director, media and digital, at Kantar Millward Brown continues: “No generation is a monolith and Gen Z is no exception. Their upbringing, expectations and access to technology, however, has created a range of attitudes and behaviours that will challenge marketers. Only where brands take all this into consideration will they be successful in engaging this increasingly critical and fast-emerging group of consumers.”

Ad creative approaches


Campaign Asia

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