Continued from Teenagers Don’t Care: Part I.

As we taught them, so we learned from them.

The first challenging thing was advertising the Advertising Workshop. We had them bring their friends, advertise the Workshop for us. We had them suggest placement in the school for most successful flyer postings. They volunteered ideas of how to advertise to them.
Being with this certain target audience for 8 weeks was like an extended focus group. We talked to them, we fed them, we learned what they thought about different aspects of advertising. I learned alot about marketing to teenagers throughout this course.

One of the most surprising things I learned is that they knew so much more then we anticipated. As we planned out our lesson plans we didn’t account for them being really, really smart. They caught on quicker then lightning when we answered their questions and had solid suggestions for the campaign we were creating together.

These teenagers are surrounded by advertising 24/7, but most being targeted to them is dumbed down, repetitive, and anti-intellectual. I decided that for my teaching class I would show great advertisements to try to inspire them. I chose ads based on their simplicity, creative measure, and clever copy. In showing the ads, the teenagers were slow to comment and discuss. It seemed as if they were a bit reluctant to volunteer their ideas in front of their peers and us.

Following this showing, we had group brainstorming. Slow-going at first, then building to a fevered pitch, this brainstorming finally flipped a switch in their heads. You could see that they were getting excited about their contributions and they surprised themselves by their own ideas.

Remembering fondly my forgotten-name-because-I-have-a-bad-memory Spanish college teacher, I believe we all broke down that wall of apathy that seperated us at first by just loving what we do and allowing that to come out through our teachings. I enjoyed this Workshop very much, and hope it continues on in other schools so that we can touch on other students lives, if only to leave a fond memory of a time where they were respected as equals.

In closing, I’ve learned much from the students, and hopefully they’ve learned much from us. I’ve grown so proud of all involved in this program be it students, teachers, and all who supported it.