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Meet The Parents (Canada) Paul Acerbi VP YC September 2004. Meet The Parents January 2005. Synovate YC : What we do. Global youth agency focusing on the lives and aspirations of 12-30 year olds We provide youth brands with strategy, insight and ideas : Insight Qualitative research

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synovate yc what we do
Synovate YC : What we do
  • Global youth agency focusing on the lives and aspirations of 12-30 year olds
  • We provide youth brands with strategy, insight and ideas:
    • Insight
      • Qualitative research
      • Quantitative research
      • Client Immersions
      • Panels
      • Edge
        • Continuous study of the youth context
    • Creates
      • Concept Development
      • Re-positioning Development
      • Brand Consultancy
current clients
Current Clients

Synovate YC : Current Clients

  • Coca Cola
  • Lever Faberge
  • Whitbread
  • Diageo GB
  • Princes Trust
  • Jim Beam Brands
  • Wrangler / Lee
  • Halfords
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Sony
  • XFM
  • Etam
  • Orange
  • MTV
  • Britvic
  • BBC Radio 1
  • BBC 3
  • BBC Interactive
  • Nestle
  • Coors
  • Absolut
  • Burton’s Biscuits
  • Unilever Bestfoods
  • Rockport
  • Allied Domecq
  • Cadbury
  • Masterfoods
synovate yc client views
Synovate YC: Client views

"The complexities of researching the youth market are well documented. Synovate YC are one of the few specialists in this field that can draw a straight line through the issues. We are more than happy with their level of expertise and their insights have genuinely broadened our perspective".‘

Graham Saxton, SVP Strategy – MTV Europe

‘“YC are one of our most important partners in helping us understand the dynamics of our young adult market - what matters, what doesn't; what's the present, what's the future.  Critically for us, YC go far beyond the remit of a research agency, and act as a consultant and business partner in helping us anticipate our target consumers' motivations.”

John Hosking, Consumer Planning Director - Diageo GB

meet the parents introduction
Meet the ParentsIntroduction
  • Our research amongst youth throughout the world leads us to believe that parents have the biggest impact on young people’s lives
  • 63% of Canadian families have children in the home. (2001 Census)
  • Global societal trend of young people staying at home for longer than ever before:
    • 41% of 20-24 year olds are living at home!

(Source: 2001 Census)

  • To understand why today’s youth behaves and responds as it does we need to understand the parents…

Welcome to Meet the Parents Canada

how do we know this stuff
How Do We Know This Stuff?
  • What?
    • In-depth immersions with parents with children 12-30 living in the home
    • Synovate Omnibus interviews of 500 parents across Canada
    • TeenNation Omnibus interviews of 500 young people across NA
  • Who?
    • Married Couples
    • Single Parents
    • Step-parent & Biological Parent
    • Different ethnic groups
    • Experts in Canada, UK and US
  • Where?
    • Vancouver
    • Regina
    • Toronto
    • Montreal
  • Adult Identity Crisis
  • Factors influencing parenting style:
    • Parent’s childhood
    • Fear
  • Why leave home?
  • Parental spending blitz
  • What does this mean for brands?
  • Team exercise
the adult identity crisis9
The Adult Identity Crisis
  • Parents often attribute their teen’s erratic behaviour, sloth like demeanour, and inability to take on any responsibility as an “identity crisis.”
    • However, the tables have turned and now it is the parent who is searching for an ID . . .
  • We live in a culture which is obsessed with the cult of youth
    • Media
    • Celebrity
    • Plastic surgery
  • Being adult has never been less culturally


    • Responsibility
    • Settled ways
    • Boring…
adult identity crisis
Adult Identity Crisis
  • Few meaningful ‘rights of passage’
  • Adults are not becoming parents until later in life by choice:
    • Medically possible
    • Status anxiety
    • Reluctant to lose youth lifestyle
    • Celebrity cues

Adults are trying hard to be young…. so what does this mean for being a parent?

factors influencing parenting style
Factors influencing Parenting Style
  • Research identifies 4 dominant drivers of parenting style

Cultural and religious







factors influencing parenting style parent s upbringing
Factors influencing Parenting StyleParent’s Upbringing


  • Parents childhood = key driver of parenting style
  • The Parents childhood:
    • Responsibility
    • Perceived safe community
    • Strict parents
    • Limited school pressures
    • Limited technology
    • Play outside
    • Job security
    • Less consumption
    • Working father and at-home mother

Felt different to their parents

Felt their parents didn’t understand them

factors influencing parenting style parent s upbringing14
Factors influencing Parenting StyleParent’s Upbringing


  • In response to parents have created a very different environment for their children:
    • They want their kids to like them
    • Obsessed with cult of youth
    • Lack of responsibility
    • Fear of violence and crime
    • Academic pressure
    • Technology-obsessed culture
    • Competitive job market
    • Student debt
    • Rife consumption
    • Both parents in the workforce
    • Working longer hours

Try to be accepted by their kids

Try to understand their kids

factors influencing parenting style parent s upbringing15
Factors influencing Parenting StyleParent’s Upbringing

43% North American parents want to be their child’s best friend

factors influencing parenting style parent s upbringing16
Factors influencing Parenting StyleParent’s Upbringing
  • Parents believe that “kids are getting smarter these days” because they know about:
    • Technology
    • Education
    • Internet
    • Media
  • Parents mistaking:



“Kids are becoming exposed to a far greater range of experiences that are distinct from their parents . . .

The parents think, well I don’t understand this, so therefore they must be smarter than me.”

Frank Feradi, Professor of Sociology,

University of Canterbury

  • This contributes to the parent’s lack of confidence in themselves
factors influencing parenting style parents upbringing pushover parents
Factors influencing Parenting StyleParents Upbringing: Pushover Parents
  • A shift in power dynamic within household from adult to children
  • Many parents are longing to regain control over their household and their children's lives
    • Parental frustration
    • Parental disappointment
factors influencing parenting style the fear factor the outside world
Factors influencing Parenting StyleThe Fear Factor: The Outside World
  • All parents considered themselves worried about their children

regardless of age

  • 37% would prefer their kids at home at ALL times
factors influencing parenting style the fear factor underachievement
Factors influencing Parenting StyleThe Fear Factor: Underachievement
  • Youth have a myriad of distractions, have little sense of future plans ….and are notoriously lazy!
  • Societal pressure for academic success
  • Parents afraid that if they lack focus they won’t achieve
  • If their children fail, they have failed as a parent
factors influencing parenting style the fear factor therapy future
Factors influencing Parenting StyleThe Fear Factor: Therapy Future
  • Middle class urban parents fear of damaging the child’s development
  • Reluctance to discipline children
factors influencing parenting style the fear factor
Factors influencing Parenting StyleThe Fear Factor
  • The fear factors result in:
    • Pity
      • Feel sorry for their kids having to grow up in such demanding and dangerous world
    • Life Guarding
      • Create an excessively safe, comfortable and entertaining environment at home
      • So their kids never want to leave….
  • Parents are not afraid of what their kids may do in the outside world, but what the outside world may do to their kids

Why Leave Home?

  • 47% of North American teenagers intend to stay at home as long as they can

Source: Synovate TeenNation

  • 56% of North American Parents don’t want their children to ever leave home!

Source: Synovate TeleNation

why leave home25
Why Leave Home?

29% of men between 25 and 29 live at home compared to 19% of women (2001 Census)

  • More younger people are staying at home for longer
  • Boomerang Generation = more are returning after they’ve left!
    • 73% of Parents will always welcome their children moving back home
  • In previous generations, kids couldn’t wait to move out on their own to escape….
  • But now?
  • They want to stay and parents don’t even want them to leave!
why leave home26
Why Leave Home?
  • Kids are living at home for longer and longer because the parents want them to
    • Parent losing a best friend!
    • Parent losing the focus of their life!
    • Parent worried about being alone!
    • Parent worried about what might happen to them!
  • Hence many parents create an environment that is “impossible to leave”:
    • No rent
    • No bills
    • No rules
    • All cooking and washing done
    • Toys – necessities not luxuries
    • Space dedicated to fun
  • And they boomerang because real life is way too tough….

“I have always encouraged them to be at home, and that way I know what’s going on.”

(Single mother of four older boys)

why leave home meet the dumb 20 somethings
Why Leave HomeMeet the Dumb 20 Somethings!
  • A dynamic where parents:
    • Do everything for their child
    • Protect kids from life experiences
    • Encourage children to stay at home longer
  • Result: 20 somethings with little grasp of how to manage adult life, (especially males)
    • How to cook?
    • How to get a job?
    • How to pay bills?

“We get ever worsening applications for jobs. Spelling mistakes, cut n pasting,

wrong names. It’s like they don’t think. One who we turned down for just for these reasons

actually had their Dad call us to ask why!?”

HR Manager Synovate

spending blitz spoiled rotten
Spending Blitz: Spoiled Rotten
  • Families will spend a $15 billion this year on consumer products for their teens and young adults!
  • Attitudes and behavior related to child spending are influenced not by how much money people have
  • Its all about awareness of ‘spoiling’
    • Parents who refuse to spoil
    • Parents who spoil:
      • Haven’t thought it through
      • Parenting style
spending blitz31
Spending Blitz


  • Prince Makers
  • Parents have high income
  • Often from a poor background
  • Refuse to ask children to do anything, provide everything for them
  • Children want for nothing and know the value of nothing
  • Successful Drivers
  • Parents highly successful
  • Understand the importance of hard work and education
  • Insist on chores being done
  • Children highly focused on achieving


Of spoiling


Of spoiling

  • Spoil Seekers
  • Parents small disposable income but spend heavily on children
  • Desire to ‘spoil’ their children
  • Spend to make themselves feel good
  • Spend to keep up with consumerist society
  • Shopping main hobby
  • Children want for nothing and know the value of nothing
  • Value Instillers
  • Parents have small disposable income and kids understand
  • Children expect little
  • Children often focused on achieving


spending blitz need states
Spending BlitzNeed.States



  • Long working hours
  • Family breakdown
  • Arguments
  • Lack of connection




  • Child – fits in
  • Parent-peace of mind
  • Parents want to be young and cool


  • Keep kids at home
  • Stay safe
  • Educational products



  • Youth becoming less emotionally dependent
  • Parent finds comfort in being the PROVIDER
  • Reaction-based
  • Kids = fashion accessories
  • Kids=cool, parents are cool…



spending blitz33
Spending Blitz
  • 71% of parental child purchases are made without any child request (Source: Synovate TeleNation)
    • Best friend syndrome
    • Mom does everything…
  • Parents purchase based on what they know or think their child will like… Guess-ter Power
  • In research, we came across no structured allowances – money provided as and when required
    • Older children often have parent funded credit cards
so what do the kids think source synovate teennation
So, what do the kids think?Source: Synovate TeenNation
  • 65% of teens believe their parents “try hard to be a friend"
    • However, only 28% said they intend "to be a friend first" when they have kids
    • Almost half of all teens claimed they "will be strict with kids about what they can and can't do”
  • Only 10% of teens intend to buy their kids whatever they want
  • 40% of teens indicated they would raise their own kids differently
paul acerbi synovate yc paul acerbi@synovate com www synovate com edge

Paul AcerbiSynovate