Members of Gen Alpha—those born after 2010—may not yet have the same purchasing power as their Gen Z and millennial elders. However, brands put off getting to know them at their own peril because this demographic had already made up its mind about what’s cool, and what isn’t.
Netflix has been crowned the “coolest” brand among 7- to 14-year-olds in a study spanning 60,000 U.K. kids conducted by family insights agency Beano Brain.
The streaming service knocked 2022 champion YouTube off the top spot, with McDonald’s, Nike and Oreo completing the top five.
Helenor Gilmour, Beano Brain’s director of insight, led the research. Her team spent a year talking to young people, observing their hobbies along with the brands they were buying and talking about. She described Gen Alpha as an increasingly discerning generation of digital natives who expect more of advertisers than their older cohorts.
Don’t expect Gen A to interrogate your sustainability efforts, but do expect them to pick up when you are not living up to your claims.
Helenor Gilmour, director of insight, Beano Brain
Netflix’s “clear and salient proposition,” its ability to create water cooler moments through shows including Wednesday and Stranger Things, along with its exposure to interesting collaborations and edgy, “sometimes dark content,” made it a winner among young people, said Gilmour.
“Brands that can cut through are able to do well, but only if they also live up to their messaging and, most importantly, deliver real emotional benefits for kids,” she added. “Netflix enables them to explore sophisticated topics with quality drama, and YouTube helps them learn and gather knowledge capital.”
McDonalds has been a consistent entrant on the list, holding on to third place for the second year running.
“Consistency and of-the-moment activity is key for McDonalds. Kids know (and love) what they are going to get, and importantly they feel welcome at McDonalds,” explained Gilmour. “The brand stays up to date with food trends, constantly adding new menu items like frappes and tapping into seasonal and other occasions really well.”
Elsewhere, Nike—which was rated equally by both girls and boys—made it into the top five for the first time, following collaborations with gaming giant Fortnite.