Here are some interesting live insights taken from a panel of 8 teenagers at the YPulse Conference, watching advertisements and giving their feedback live. The teenagers were diverse in ethnicity and interests, and came from different parts of America.

Refresh Everything by Pepsi
The ad shows a variety of scenes from different ages, drinking pepsi, to the tune of “Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation.” It links to the site It uses a development of the Pepsi logo that recalls the Obama campaign logo.
Watch it here.


  • Seen it before; the tune is old news; nothing that’s going to make them drink a pepsi.
  • I feel catered to, don’t do that.
  • Pepsi isn’t being consistent with their logo usage.
  • Portrays youth as party people, and they’re more than that. Add some social activism in there.
  • Pepsi should come up with something that’s theirs; not just take Obama’s logo and re-use it. You’re not going to get youth by borrowing Obama’s logo. Be unique.
  • Berlin Wall coming down, and flower power people didn’t resonate with this panel.
  • This looked like a re-hash of older commercials, like Britney’s old Superbowl advertisement.
  • One panel member liked the invitation to be a part of the new story.

Happiness Factory by Coke
Shows the journey of a coke bottle through an imaginary world that looks very Pixar-like.
Watch it here.


  • Looks like Pixar made a tool video. They aren’t trying to be relevant. They’re trying to be fun. They aren’t trying as hard as Pepsi.
  • Creepy and disturbing. A little to acid trippy.
  • Fun, but would like to watch the commercial again. He found the Pepsi commercial more realistic, but he would watch this commercial again.
  • Feels it’s like a depressing version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
  • The gamer panel member didn’t understand the gaming aspect of the commercial.

Overall the group felt Pepsi won, but neither ad appeared to make the panel want to drink either Coke or Pepsi.

Mac Versus PC Advertisement by Apple
Showing the team the ad about customer care and the Apple versus the PC guys.
Watch it here.


  • Loves ad series, but not sure the message holds true. Doesn’t think the Genius Bar is any help at all.
  • It’s not diverse … two white guys doesn’t appeal.
  • Hates this campaign altogether, and feels that this is really bad for Apple.
  • Doesn’t like that the young Mac guy is too cocky, and is pandering to youth.
  • Thinks the ads is funny, but doesn’t like playing on someone’s weaknesses rather than their own strengths.
  • Generally all very “down” on the ad series.

I’m a PC by Microsoft
Many different people, using PCs in different ways, all over the world, with the phrase “I’m a PC.”
Watch it here.


  • Loved the diversity. Not making fun of Apple.
  • Felt it was mature of Microsoft to do this.
  • Didn’t feel the commercial affected them. Didn’t know what the ad was about, unless you knew about the Apple ad. Didn’t give any special information about why to get a Windows PC.
  • Thought they got it. They took pride in taking a PC.
  • Connected more to lower income individuals, because they are a diverse range of individuals. A PC is for everyone, and liked that.

Candie’s, for Teen Pregnancy Foundation (PSA)
Shows two teenagers making out in a car. They’re told to stop and think. They’re handed a baby by Jenny McCarthy through the window and told “welcome to reality.”
Watch it here. (Click on Jenny McCarthy ad.)

  • Felt it was just talking to girls, and not to boys.
  • Didn’t talk to boys as participating in the decision making.
  • The baby came way too fast. This isn’t realistic.
  • Uses a celebrity in the ad, and they didn’t notice who it was.

Above the Influence, Partnership for a Drug Free America
Shows a teen schoolboy fitting or not fitting into cardboard cutouts.
Watch it here. (See “Fitting in” ad.)

  • Really liked it, because it was human tetris, but didn’t think it was effective
  • Does not have any impact about drugs
  • Had no message at all; just walls falling down; they’re always hearing about not smoking pot; but there was no message here.
  • Showed fun imagery, but totally irrelevant — there was no message about smoking pot here. You’re labeling people, and not helping.
  • It’s not always about teenagers fitting in. There’s more to it than that.
  • Not an effective anti-drug message to talk about ‘fitting in’ only.
  • Doesn’t feel the message connects, but there are other messages that are better … for example, the talking dog is much more effective. (See “Dog” ad.) They should address risk levels.

What struck me in particular about these teens is that they are very sophisticated about how they are being sold to, they see what brands are trying to do, and are frequently derisively dismissive of the messaging. Don’t talk down to teens. They know what you are doing! Be honest, authentic and real and these teens will believe you more.