When was the last time you felt old? But not like old, like really old. For me, it was last night when I was rubbing Bengay on my aching 33-year-old joints and complaining about the callouses on my feet. Man, I thought, as my husband rubbed mentholated gel all over my lower back, I should really start planning for my funeral. All this is to say that I was already feeling old before I got out of bed this morning.
And then I saw the survey we’re about to share with you. And then I saw its title. And then I realized that the march of time stops for no man and that we will all soon be withered out husks that used to have dreams. Even the 1,100 cool 13 to 17-year old teens who took a survey called It’s Lit: A Guide To What Teens Think Is Cool.
The survey, which was run by Google, had two aims: To figure out what the nadsat — a group whose purchasing power is currently at 44 billion — likes, and to let advertisers know, so they could encourage everyone from CASH ME OUSSIDE to Damn, Daniel to buy stuff.
So what’d they find? Well, according to Indy 100, the survey revealed that girls liked fashion and beauty while boys liked video games, that everyone liked Drake and The Beatles, and that shoes are still valuable social currency, even though no one’s wearing those high-top sneakers you have to pump up anymore (that last cool shoe ever made, IMO). If you really want to meet teens where they’re at, you should also know that denizens of Generation Z love technology, but are especially into the latest smartphones. If your company also promotes confidence, does cool things for customers and employees, or interacts with the world in a way that’s fun and real and all those other words that you’d usually use to describe a friend rather than a brand *cough*Wendy’s*cough* then you’re A-OK with teens.
Pretty standard stuff, right? But then we get to the bad news. Teens were asked to rank 122 brands based on their “coolness” levels and the matrix that these responses created looks way different than we would have thought. Whereas McDonald’s and Quicksilver were at least fiiiiiiiiiiiine when many of us were teens, now the Big Mac purveyor and the clothing line for skaters have fallen hard. Other surprises: Whatsapp is out; so is TMZ; and even People magazine is no longer the number one to-go source for celeb gossip (although, to be honest, most of us didn’t get into it until college, either).
Falling dead last are The Wall Street Journal — possibly due to its latest coverage of YouTube celebs; possibly because most busy teens aren’t worried about their stock portfolios — and Vice, which is dead last when it comes to both coolness and awareness. Are you kidding us, teens? Did you even read this piece about how someone whitened their teeth with urine while on vacation? You’re telling us that poor woman did that for nothing? This isn’t Reader’s Digest! High stakes stunt journalism can’t be dead!
At least there’s one thing teens did get right: Coke is still better than Pepsi and straddling a chair while wearing a backwards baseball cap is still seen as the coolest way to communicate serious topics to others (source: unverified). It may have been your world before, millennials, but who knows what will change now that Generation Z is in the driver’s seat? (Well, okay, in the passenger seat, but their moms said they could apply for a permit like literally on their birthday, okay? And they’re counting down the days.)