Know One, you've known All

'I know what I want, but I won’t tell you. I listen to my parents and then try and do my own thing. I think God is great but Google is greater. My friends are everything. Hanging out with them is therapy . It’s prayer for our teenage souls. I get about 4000 rupees per month as pocket money. But that’s not enough. My curfew at home is 10.30 pm. I could do with some more time. I don’t lie to my parents. But I just hide the truth. My studies and career are important to me. I hate it when teachers don’t give me full marks even though all my answers are right. They are so idealistic, just like my parents. If I get pissed off with my friends or parents, I just give them the silent treatment. It’s better than going on a hunger strike. (That’s what my parents do!) I love my music, it is oxygen. I carry it everywhere I go. I also like my parents music. I love old hindi music. Of course I think about issues like the environment, recession and 26/11. But I don’t know what to do. What should I do? I wish my little sister would be more responsible . Why should I have to clean her mess. May be I am selfish. But what the heck, I can’t keep waiting for the things I want. Any way the world is going to end in 2012.'

That's Josy Paul describing eighteen year olds, marketers are trying to get to, in India. In fact the characterisation forms part of a story in the ET on the children of liberalised India. Eighteen year olds who were born the year India opened its economy up. The story says that these eighteen year olds have marketers befuddled, especially when they try and decipher their psyches.

I beg to differ.

In fact nothing can be easier than knowing ther mindsets and what they want. Simply because the variables that would otherwise have slotted them into different categories, as in the past, have been wiped clean. And you can pin that on the phenomenon of 'Americanisation' of India. That is, it wouldn't matter which Metro city in India you go to, eighteen year olds are doing the same thing. Sporting sneakers, glugging cokes, squeezing into denims, lounging on sofas sipping Cappuccinos, hanging out at multiplexes and sweating it out at window shopping. The outdoor Westernised image is almost complete. You can even extend that to indoors. They are watching American format Indian sitcoms or reality shows, tuning into music that's got an international feel, and logging on to social networking sites swapping mindless information about themselves with other eighteen year olds.

And so for the marketer, the 'one size fits all' theme works fine with them. Now this is unlike what was applicable to the previous generation. Cultural variables ensured they were never alike. And so product formats had to be altered to appeal to a specific regional psyche. That isn't as I mentioned, required for the current eighteen year olds. Cultural variables have faded into oblivion. What remains is the exhibition of standardised behaviour that gets repeated across geographical divides.

Josy and the rest of marketers should be thanking their stars that the cultural divide is easing up, for this generation. It only makes their jobs easier. Because knowing one kid, means you know them all.

How much more lucky can a marketer get?


Breeze said…
hey m 18 but m not like tht, m in a money crunch n my mothers salary in 12000/m,so can't hav a Pocket money of 4000.n trust me ,m more in number than those teens u described. U GOT IT ALL WRONG !!!! ITS bad for som1 who will teach .........
Unknown said…
agree that any metro city kid's are same .
but there is a difference between rural kid's and metro kid' lifestyle of both is not same.

reason is influence of western culture is more in metro than in rural india.
Ray Titus said…
Of course, all 18 year olds aren't alike...

My characterisation is limited to 18 year olds from affluent families in Metros...

Kanika, from what you say, you don't fall into the category...hope there aren't any hard feelings if I seem to have painted the likes of you with the same brush.
Breeze said…
happy nw year ! no hard's not relevent but wanna ask u 1 thing...wat u think abt ayurved in preventive medicine.hw do youth think abt healthy diet.the rich ones.I eat watever is there,hihihi
Ray Titus said…

Happy year to you too.

Ayurveda as preventive medicine? I don't have a clue. About diets; the desire is for a healthy and toned physique is pretty much universal. 'Healthy' is good. But toned physiques that can make one 'look good' could probably be a result of not being happy with the way one's body is (across income stratas). I don't mean to be judgemental, but at times that ain't healthy.

About you not caring about what you eat, guess you are fine with the way you are! That's good!

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