With less than two weeks to go ‘til YMS18 NYC, Voxburner’s General Manager Richard Jackson shares why this year’s festival takes on some crucial subjects that the marketing industry can’t continue to ignore.
October 2nd-3rd 2018 will see Voxburner bring its Youth Marketing Strategy festival YMS18 to Brooklyn, New York at Industry City. This is our fifth festival in New York and as we put the finishing touches to catering, sign off print materials and proof our agenda I wanted to share with you all what drives us at Voxburner, what drives me and most importantly why what we do is essential for the industry and for you.
The youth marketing landscape is ever changing. This year alone, we’ve seen the introduction of new ways to consume and share media, Apple once again commanding the stage for their latest release, Nike grabbing the headlines putting their beliefs at the forefront of their campaign and let’s not forget Snapchat’s rebrand causing shockwaves across the globe.
YMS reacts to all of this, and more. It puts the industry on stage for our audience to learn, share and understand what ticks the boxes for the young consumer. But what has struck me most this year is what happens when those products are put down, what happens when the 16-24 market engage their own mind and put their voice to the front, not absorbing someone else's. The result is not only inspiring but for me resonates in a way that makes me feel sad that when I was growing up, this freedom was not available or perhaps not spoken about.
I recall vividly thinking about brands and questioning their campaigns, how they made us feel, and why my perspective as a young person wasn’t being represented by some brands that I longed to love.
Depression, mental health, sexuality and wellness are all subjects that the youth marketing industry can no longer ignore. But have brands that are stuck in the past (let's not mention any names) caught up? Have their CEOs put this at the heart of their brand values? I am inclined to say no. This is one of the reasons why Voxburner is aggressive in its vision and why I continue to walk into our office every day.
2016 saw YMS NYC put young people's mental health on its agenda, sharing the moving story of Tyler Clementi, a young man who ended his life upon being outed at college. YMS18 LDN saw Danny Bowman (above), who suffered from selfie addiction, discuss on stage personal image, perception and how brands can work with young people to comfort and empower them.
Young people's mental health has never been more at front of mind for brands and the media. Now, I do not claim to be an expert on this subject matter at all, but I do know that we all have a part to play in ensuring the work we put out will empower and encourage the development of our future generations. And we also have to remember our roots. We were all 16 once... how does the work we create make our 16-year-old self feel?
For 2018 my team have had this in the front of their minds curating an agenda that reflects this in so many ways. I’m very proud that once again Voxburner is putting the subject matter first rather than the dollar, to ensure we discuss the topics that are affecting young people today and ensure you can adapt your strategy - your tools to reach them in a way that they understand and benefit from.
Over 1000 of our industry will walk through Industry City in a couple of weeks, for two days out the office for a festival of youth marketing. If you have not got your pass yet, of course I urge you to book one, and if you are attending I urge you leave your desk at the door, embrace the content with fresh eyes and know that you have the power to change the future of our most politically engaged, tech savvy, and intelligent generation yet.