[PRESS OFFICE] Nike has maintained its perennial popularity with SA’s youth, claiming an 8th consecutive Overall Coolest Brand award, while also bagging the Coolest Clothing Brand and Coolest Footwear Brand awards at the 17th Sunday Times GenNext Awards. Apple placed overall second, while luxury brand Louis Vuitton moved into overall third spot from its 9th place position in 2020.
The winners across 61 categories of the Sunday Times GenNext survey, conducted by Yellowwood, were announced during a live-streamed online celebration on 9 September 2021.
The Sunday Times GenNext survey remains the leading barometer of what South Africa’s youth find on-trend and aspirational, and delivers insights that are valued by brand management, advertising, and marketing professionals. The 2021 survey polled more than 6,000 young people aged 8-13 years (Tweens), 14 to 18 years (Teens), 18 to 24 years (Young Adults), and 25 to 30 years (Young Professionals).
Eben Gewers, Head of Sales at Arena Events – which owns Sunday Times GenNext – believes the survey continues to deliver value, particularly during the economic uncertainty brought about by the Covid-pandemic. “It’s been a challenging 18 months to say the least, so having knowledge of shifts in youth attitude to products and brands – at a time when many families are economically stretched – is vital for marketers in shaping their future strategies.”
Refilwe Malukeke, MD of Yellowwood, which conducts the Sunday Times GenNext survey, says the behavioural portion of the 2021 research highlights three levers that brands can use to build trust with young people and ultimately drive consideration and preference: accessibility, authenticity and community.
“In addition to availability, brands can make themselves accessible by showing up in spaces where young people are in a relevant way. They can achieve authenticity by being consistent in everything they do, and finally consider the kind of positive impact they can have on communities or tribes that matter to young people,” says Maluleke.
This year also saw the introduction of new categories reflecting rapid innovation and consumer technology adoption: Coolest Online Store (winner: Takealot.com), Coolest Technology Brand (winner: Samsung) , Coolest Digital Learning Platform (winner: YouTube), and Coolest Fitness Device (winner: Apple Watch). For the first time, young people over 18 years of age were polled on their preference for alcohol brands – amongst this cohort, Savannah Cider was the most popular alcoholic beverage.
In addition to polling consumer brand preference, the survey also polls youth on the personal brands of celebrities, entertainers and sportspeople. World Cup-winning Springbok Rugby Captain Siya Kolisi was named Coolest Local Sportsperson, DJ Kabza de Small was voted as the Coolest Local Club DJ, while Cassper Nyovest was awarded as the Coolest Online Influencer, and the Coolest Local Celeb of 2021.
MetroFM once again triumphed as the Coolest Radio Station, with The Queen being the Coolest Local TV Programme.
Sunday Times GenNext is presented in association with headline partners Yellowwood and Gautrain, and corporate partners Proudly South African and CliffCentral. The Sunday Times GenNext Awards event and webinar series is managed by Arena Events. Past webinars can be viewed here
To view the complete list of winners across 61 categories here.
The Sunday Times GenNext supplement will be published in the Sunday Times on 12 September 2021.
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