Half the youth aged 15 to 25 in the US consider New York to be a “cool” city. This is significantly more than the 1 out of 3 American youth who think London, Paris and Tokyo are cool. Even on an international level youth in 15 countries in the world choose the Big Apple as the absolute coolest. It are mainly Italian (66% thinks NYC is cool) and Danish youngsters (60%) who love the city most. Other cities such as Los Angeles (26%) and San Francisco (15%) do not score badly amongst US youngsters either. Globally, LA appears to be the most popular amongst French and Swedish youngsters, 1 out of 3 of them thinking the city is cool. Frisco is the coolest amongst the own American youth and with the Germans (13%). Chinese youth are relatively less crazy about American cities. Youth in the US seems less cosmopolitan when compared to the same age group in other regions around the world. On average merely 1 out of 5 global young people would call their national main cities ‘cool’ while according to US youth 3 of the top 5 coolest cities are in North America.
The least positive scores in the US are for Istanbul, Saint Petersburg and Sao Paolo. A mere 1% quotes these cities as cool. Brussels and the Scandinavian capitals of Copenhagen and Stockholm do not do much better (2%).
Johnny Depp, Obama and Lady Gaga are the coolest people
Merkel and Branson are the least cool
Johnny Depp, currently doing brilliantly again in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadow, is the coolest celebrity according to the Millennials in the US. About 1 out of 3 youngsters (31%) quote him as ‘cool’ and that is a much better result than the other actors in the top 5 such as Sandra Bullock (14%) and Jessica Alba (14%). Lady Gaga (16%) is the coolest musician and if the American youth had a say in it, Barack Obama would easily make it as President of the United States again. 16% of the youth consider Obama to be cool, which puts him in the “overall” top 3 of coolest celebrities in the US. Angela Merkel and Richard Branson on the other hand cannot count on the youth’s appreciation. They compose the list of least cool famous people, nobody in the US thought they were cool.
“In order to be cool when you are famous, you should mainly stay loyal to your own unique and original identity”, says Joeri Van den Bergh, Gen Y expert at InSites Consulting and author of the book ‘How cool brands stay hot’. “Furthermore you should not be too distant from your fans, you should not feel better than others and you should build a close connection just like a friend would”, explains Van den Bergh. “Although Lady Gaga hasn’t been releasing any new material in the past months in the U.S., leaving the momentum for other stars like RIhanna, Kate Perry or Nikki Minaj, she has 25 million Twitter followers and twice as many Facebook fans. She’s using these media to communicate very personally on a daily basis about her own life and to lament to her ‘little monsters’ (fans). When her new album will be released, this fan base will instantly put her back in the spotlights, leaving all the others in her shadow”.
By now Madonna has been overtaken almost everywhere by Lady Gaga, except in Russia, Brazil and Italy, where the ‘Queen of Pop’ is still part of the top of the coolest people. Even a Super Bowl performance couldn’t change the tide.
Apple, Converse and SONY are the coolest brands
A little less than 8 out of 10 (78%) US youngsters think both Apple and iPhone are cool brands. Converse (Allstars) and SONY come second (66%). Other cool brands are H&M, Nike, Nintendo and Coca-Cola, with about 6 out of 10 youngsters labelling these brands as cool. Brands doing remarkably better in the US compared to the rest of the world are M&M’s and Doritos (both at 53% of coolness according to the US youth).
“Cool brands manage to use their clear DNA to continuously surprise youngsters with new campaigns, a new product or a new idea, “ says InSites Consulting’s Joeri Van den Bergh. “This regularly renewed approach is necessary in order to keep a hold of the attention of a generation of youth which is addicted to stimuli. Furthermore it is important to connect with people locally via their different passions and interests. Of course everybody knows about the Apple press conference approach. As soon as a new product is available in the shops, they announce yet another innovation via the press. Converse is another good example: they launch new designs every year, which are in line with their target group, such as the current Converse Americana or the DC Comics collection. They link strongly with the main passion of youths: music. They do not only do so by collaborating with Gorillaz and the exclusive unique singles they bring out such as the new Mark Foster, Kimbra and A-Trak, but also by giving a chance to the youth themselves, e.g. in the Rubber Tracks studio project in Brooklyn. Apart from that the brand is also active in street art, e.g. by organizing the Wall to Wall project in Boston. And of course there always is the link with sports such as basketball and skateboarding.”
These types of novelties and events also generate an increased level of ‘buzz’ about brands, which Van den Bergh says is indispensable if you want to get onto the youngsters’ radar. “Something which is not talked about amongst your close friends of which is not shared on your friends’ Facebook wall is not sufficiently important to youngsters. It’s their own way of dealing with the huge quantity of information they are confronted with.”
39% of youngsters think they are ‘cool’
Some 43% of US youngsters think to be ‘cool’. This implies that the Americans are rather modest, since more youngsters think so about themselves in France (58%), Russia (61%), Poland (64%) and India (67%). InSites Consulting learned from its international ‘Coolness’ survey that Chinese youth consider themselves to be the least cool. Although 1 out of 5 Chinese thinks to be cool, an equal number thought the opposite. The US result was even slightly higher than the British one (39%).