Shopping habits, it’s fair to say, have really changed in the last decade. Where once the only option a shopper had was to head to the local shop and take out their actual, physical purse, now ways to spend our pounds are seemingly endless. Daunting and confusing to most, perhaps, but young people are embracing this change.

Indeed, the teenage generation move and groove on different platforms to their parents; think social network influence such as Instagram, streaming platforms and reviews from platforms like YouTube; this is the generation that grew up with the internet as it is today, and they’re a savvy, sharp bunch. Much to their credit, too, this is ‘generation woke’, and as such brands are having to shape their marketing to appeal to the open minded, inclusive ideal which is the norm for the younger generation. With that in mind, here are 6 IDEAL progressive brands for teens.

NIKE

Like Doritos, Nike scored very well in Google’s study, with teenagers ranking it the same level of “cool” as Apple, and outdoing the likes of Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and Twitter. And that’s down to more than just the Air Max.

The brand, like Doritos, has not shied away from supporting movements that teenagers value. For example, their classic “Just Do It” campaign recently featured Colin Kaepernick, the American Footballer who started the “Take a Knee” protest against racial and social injustices by kneeling during the national anthem. Nike continued to show their support for sports stars who were standing up against racial injustices with their latest campaign, featuring Raheem Sterling. This willingness to be vocal in their defence of equality has a huge value to teenagers in particular, who have a greater appreciation not only for what a brand sells, but what it stands for.

LIL-LETS

For young girls, starting their period is an important time in their life, but for many, it can be an anxious one too. Lil-lets, however, have created their own teen range which is perfect for breaking the stigma around periods.

This brand has created period starter kits with age in mind, making sure that everything is designed to reflect what appeals to young girls; using pastel colours and love-heart sketches on the packaging. The discreet design reinforces the idea that periods don’t have to be a scary thing to encounter and will allow young girls to carry products around without feeling embarrassed when the time comes. Specialised products for those that suffer from irregular periods are also available.  

RIVER ISLAND

In partnership with anti-bullying charity, Ditch The Label, River Island launched its ‘Labels Are For Clothes’ campaign to champion self-expression and reject stereotypes. Bravo, we say. For its 30th birthday (and sprouting their first few grey hairs, we reckon) the fashion store created advertisements that featured a range of body types and abilities, to heighten inclusivity.

Promoting its AW18 collection, this is arguably their most diverse campaign yet and uses people from different backgrounds — including those with disabilities and down syndrome. For young people in particular, shopping at high street brands like this is a part of growing up and to see that different people being represented on a national scale will be reassuring.

CLEARASIL

Skincare is something of a battleground for many teenagers, but there are a few tried-and-true brands that generation after generation head back to. Clearasil is one of those; the go-to name in facial scrubs for the acne-prone.

A bold move, then, for the brand to release a campaign admitting they “didn’t know teens”. The campaign consisted of a series of videos in which employees of Clearasil presented themselves as being woefully out of touch with teen culture. The employees admit that they while they know teen acne, they don’t know teens. The campaign’s success lay in the sense of honesty, which teenagers would connect with, rather than attempting to present themselves as “cool”. A risk which paid off, we think.

DORITOS

A recent Google study of 13-17 year olds placed Doritos higher than the likes of Apple and even Instagram in terms of “coolness”. So how have they done it?

One key way for brands to appeal to teenagers is to support the movements they support. Doritos nailed this by showing their support for LGBT campaigns with their limited-edition rainbow-coloured snack. To get one of these colourful packs, a donation had to be made to the It Gets Better Project. Naturally, this resonated hugely with open minded consumers, which the younger generation most certainly are, and the limited-edition Doritos quickly sold out.

The key takeaway here is that Doritos showed support for a world concern that teenagers today value, without claiming to be the entire solution.

DOVE

Toiletries company Dove are firm believers in encouraging young people to reach their full potential and has launched the Self-Esteem Project, which has made a difference to 40 million lives since 2004 through educational programmes. Their research discovered that nine out of ten girls with low self-esteem put their own health at risk by not seeing doctors or missing out on meals, and aimed to do something about that. The brand offers free parent, teacher and youth leader resources to help adults talk to a young person who may lack in confidence.