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Teens fly high as we launch ‘Evolution of the Teenager’

7 July 2014

In June, we oversaw our first media campaign launch for National Citizen Service, the UK’s flagship youth programme. NCS is a two-three week placement for 16-17 years olds which brings teens from different backgrounds together and helps them build confidence, learn skills for work and life and develop social action projects that help their local community.

Our challenge was to raise brand awareness of NCS – a new organisation and so relatively unknown – among influencers, to de-bunk negative stereotypes about young people and to increase sign-ups to the programme.

To help us do that, we created the ambitious ‘Evolution of the Teenager’ campaign. Using the hook of the WW1 centenary, we created a research report – the first of its kind – that tracked trends in British teenagers over the past 100 years. To ensure that NCS remained at the heart of coverage, we focused specifically on employment and ambition. The report explored a number of different topics including first jobs, career role models, dream careers, barriers to employment, confidence, the purpose of work, work life balance and parental influence.

Forget selfies and celebrities, we found that today’s teens are most driven and socially conscious for a century. We led using these statistics, challenging the myth that today’s young people are lazy and selfish. At the same time, we revealed that our aspirational teens are battling the most complex, challenging job market in living memory – with 92% facing barriers – and highlighted extra support they needed if they were to realise their ambitions. Enter NCS.

The campaign launch was a huge success, with twenty seven national hits to date – including the front page of the Sunday Times – and more comment and feature pieces coming in everyday. The coverage has all been overwhelmingly positive, both about young people and about National Citizen Service, positioning the organisation as a champion for teenagers and a sector expert.

The website saw over 32,000 visitors flood in over the launch, 90% of whom were new to NCS. The campaign attracted the attention of many influential people on Twitter, but the icing on the cake was the Deputy PM’s office requesting a copy of the report after seeing all the coverage.