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UK Tribes – exploring youth culture in today’s modern Britain

Last week I braved the torrential downpour, heading over to Channel 4’s headquarters to hear more about their innovative research project: UK Tribes.

Running for a decade, UK Tribes is a comprehensive study into youth culture, quizzing young people about their lives, their media consumption, their aspirations and their brand preferences.  The results are illuminating; creating an honest, uncensored expression of young people’s attitudes and affiliations.

Young people are so diverse in the UK, they’ve had to be divided into Tribes – 35 to be exact – grouped into five key segments (Leading Edge, Aspirant, Urban, Alternative and Mainstream) with the aim of securing some captivating insight into what it is to be a young person in modern Britain today.

We heard some surprising stats:

  • 78% of 16-24s would prefer the voting age to be lowered to 16 rather than the drinking age
  • 74% of 16-24s would prefer to be a successful entrepreneur rather than a rich celebrity
  • 66% of 16-24s would prefer to get rid of Snapchat over Instagram
  • 67% of tribes would rather stay in with friends on a Friday night rather than go out with them
  • 56% of tribes would ban hashtags over selfies
  • 68% of 16-24s would prefer a month without YouTube rather than a month without TV
  • 58% of 18-24s voted in the 2015 election vs 38% in 2005 – young minds are becoming more engaged in how the country is run

So what does this all mean for brands?

Hannah Shakleford, OMD UK’s Business Director, took to the stage to discuss how OMD UK, Pepsi Max and Mountain Dew have used the UK Tribes research project to target and connect with their millennial audience. The project has provided real insight that has made a tangible difference to their planning process, helping generate brilliant new ideas for these brands.

One thing is clear: ultimately young people want to engage with brands that share their values, offering them inspiring and empowering messaging in a world that is becoming increasingly complicated for this demographic.

Find out more about the project here.


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Annabel is part of OMD UK's New Business and Marketing team, helping to promote the agency's initiatives, work and ideas.

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