Vice: Targeting millennials is about opt-in content

High-profile media brand shares how it is creating content for a digital and globally native audience, and why brands need to find a way to tap into value to address these consumers

Marketers targeting millennials must focus on opt-in and value-driven content if they hope to have a shot at appealing to these digitally savvy consumers.

That’s the view of Vice Australia head of content, Alex Light, who spoke at this week’s ad:tech Content Collective conference about how its portfolio of millennial-focused media brands looks to develop content, as well as works with brands on native advertising programs.

Light pointed to JWT Intelligence research, which found 80 per cent of millennials want to work in jobs that have a purpose and align with their passions, not just pay the bills. Six out of 10 also see themselves as global citizens first.

At the same time, thanks to the rise of digital and social interaction, brands have lost a lot of their power with millennials, Light said. He added it’s often what consumers say about a brand to each other that’s more influential than what brands say to consumers.

“These consumers have had hundreds of ads in their face since they were young. As soon as you try and turn content into an ad, the millennials switch off,” he told attendees. “Today, thanks to the Internet, content is an opt-in, not an interruption.”

Related: New report busts myths about millennial generation

Light detailed several examples of how Vice is working in partnership with to brands to deliver content marketing programs tackling this fickle audience. An example is Intel’s Creators Project, a media channel which fuses art and technology and is now in its fifth year.

The program aligns with Intel Labs and initially stemmed out of a global event series designed to celebrate innovation. It has since extended to an online community, daily multimedia content online, a YouTube channel featuring documentaries and art, and an initiative supporting new work. Since launching its YouTube channel in 2012, Light claimed Creators Project had chalked up 230 million video views. The project has also showcased more than 500 artists worldwide.

A key element of Creators Project’s success is that consumers are actively engaged not only in consuming content, but also creating it, Light claimed.

“This is about getting your audience to be your media channel,” he said. “Having credibility of content and depth means it delivers many, many times on the investment.”

Light’s advice for marketers looking to invest in content marketing is to “flip the old world” campaign model on its head, and shift from presenting a product value proposition to focusing on what a potential audience is interested in.

“A lot of marketers want to deliver three product messages in the first 30 seconds,” he said. “You have to create content that inspires your audience.

“The starting point today is what your audience is interested in and their key passion points.”

Light admitted native advertising was a very different style of marketing for most to get their heads around, and said finding the “nirvana” between its content ideas and brands is often a challenging exercise.

“It’s got to be content that captures the sentiment of the brand and that doesn’t need to talk about the product, which is a shift in thinking,” he added.

More from ad:tech Content Collective: AAMI insures social media marketing with real-time content

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