Published 14 March 2024

9 min read

At Ad Age’s Gen Z Summit in New York City (March 6), marketers from youth-chasing brands, including McDonald’s, Walmart and the Women's National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) Liberty team, revealed what’s working with this generation. We unpack the highlights, from crafting campaigns around fan culture and consumer commentary to adopting “by and for” Gen Z brand models, embracing “rawthenticity” and dialling up creator-led content.

Creating Around Fan Culture & Consumer Commentary

‘By and For’ Gen Z Collabs

‘Rawthenticity’ Rolls On

Beauty Spotlight: Cementing Authority Through Credentialed Influencers

Several speakers advocated finding inspiration in fan perspectives – from customer feedback to fan culture, mining everything from long-cherished examples of brand appropriation within pop subcultures to the (sometimes crude) reviews on product pages as jumping-off points for campaigns.

Several speakers advocated finding inspiration in fan perspectives – from customer feedback to fan culture, mining everything from long-cherished examples of brand appropriation within pop subcultures to the (sometimes crude) reviews on product pages as jumping-off points for campaigns.

Summary

Creating Around Fan Culture & Consumer Commentary

Several speakers advocated finding inspiration in fan perspectives – from customer feedback to fan culture, mining everything from long-cherished examples of brand appropriation within pop subcultures to the (sometimes crude) reviews on product pages as jumping-off points for campaigns.

‘By and For’ Gen Z Collabs

Embracing a “by and for” Gen Z model was another key theme – not new (see Beta Brandscapes, 2015 for the first emergence), but with amplified intention and fresh media pathways for 2024. Brands are inviting teens and young adults to very actively steer product development and marketing, and centring virtual-world activations around user-created rather than marketer-devised assets.

‘Rawthenticity’ Rolls On

Numerous speakers highlighted how Gen Zers are still pushing brands to work harder at engaging in ways that feel authentic – spurring investment in content that features confessional-style consumer communications (see also Look Ahead 2024: Pop Culture & Media), company employees (getting past a corporate façade) and rawer, behind-the-scenes-style footage.

Beauty Spotlight: Cementing Authority Through Credentialed Influencers

Beauty brands are looking to re-establish authority with young consumers who are easily swayed by less-than-qualified influencers. Clinique – one of the fastest-growing American brands among adult Gen Zers (Morning Consult, 2023) – discussed its new educational approach.

Gen Z (Ad Age) Summit, 2024

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Offering access to over 350 consumer and cross-industry reports annually, Stylus Membership is your window to tomorrow’s most exciting opportunities.

We already arm more than 500 of the world’s most forward-thinking brands and agencies with the creative insights they need to make transformative business decisions.

We’d love to do the same for you.

Book a demo with us today to discover more.

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