Two Creativity International Wins for Bridgemark

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Snakmandoo and Radical Road’s Bottle shop recently won awards in the 47th annual Creativity International Print & Packaging Competition.

Snakmandoo is a new brand from Bellisio Foods that launched this year, and encourages consumers to venture out in search of tastes and experiences that inspire. As a gold winner, you can see Snakmandoo in the Creativity Design Winner Tour, appearing at design conferences and events throughout the world.

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The bottle shop at Radical Road is composed of unique craft beers, created by the expert brew masters at this Toronto microbrewery. The free-spirited collection claimed a Pentaward earlier this year.

The Creativity International Awards celebrate great design from around the world and the designers who create it. Entries from over 28 countries were judged on the basis of the quality of their art and their advertising impact.

Congratulations to our clients and our studio for these wins! 

Radical Road Bottle Shop Wins Pentaward

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A master craftsman is also an agent of discovery – constantly testing and experimenting to design a work of art. The bottle shop at Radical Road Brewing Co. is an example of this free-willed artistry brought to life.

The micro-brewery, located in Toronto, Canada, takes inspiration from Edinburgh’s Radical Road. Named for the group of “radicals” who sought greater freedom for Scotland in the Radical War of 1820, the pathway represents the country’s spirit of independence. Carrying on in this tradition, Radical Road Brewing Co. combines their unique craft beers with equally distinct design. Each bottle tells its own story with bold typography and edgy colors, then joins together to form the full narrative for this ever-growing family – a collection that received a Pentaward this weekend.

Pentawards are recognized as the most prestigious worldwide competition exclusively devoted to packaging design in all its forms. Jeff Boulton, Creative Director, and Steve Davis, President attended the gala in Barcelona, Spain to accept the award. You can view the full winners' gallery here

Congratulations to our client and our studio on this win. You can see which brews are currently available at Radical Road on their website – or watch our Grand Opening video below for a peek at the micro-brewery. …and check out our Instagram for scenes from the award ceremony in Barcelona! 

Listen to Your Community Manager

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Imagine your brand’s social media profile is a town. Just like any community, people find a way to congregate & connect: they wave, say hello to their neighbors, and start conversations. If they see something they don’t like, the people voice their opinions to the mayor. At the same time, the mayor takes steps to check in with the community and find out what they need.

Your brand’s social media community manager is like the town’s mayor. They man the page, post the content, field questions & complaints, and interact with fans on a daily basis. 

This unique position makes the community manager an asset for measuring meaningful fan engagement. And as your engagement grows (which it should), an interesting change takes place. The community manager becomes a real member of the fan base they’re monitoring.

Their relationship with page fans may start out as a virtual connection, but over time, if they run the page properly, they start to get to know the individuals who follow the page. They’ll know that Rodney visited your Toronto location this week and was blown away by the amazing customer service. Or that the “How-To” video you posted helped John pull off a great family dinner. Or that Whitney’s French bulldog loves the stuffed mascot she won in last month’s giveaway.

This intimate knowledge of a social media fan base becomes a key asset to your brand arsenal. Not only is the community manager a voice for your brand to the public, but they have also become a strong voice for the collective – leading to insights for developing branded content that motivates consumers to engage authentically.

Branding a Nation

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Consider a country's accoutrement in parallel to branding. There's a flag instead of a logo, an anthem instead of a slogan, and a country does have positioning - we call it national identity. 

In light of celebrations about to take place in North America (the Fourth of July and Canada Day), we want to look at what shapes a country's brand. You could say history is the biggest contributor: policy decisions, international events, and even sports influence a country's character; for example, US is baseball and Canada is hockey. But is there more? Does design play a role in a nation's understanding of itself? 

If you ask Greg Durrel, the answer is a resounding yes - his new movie about the Canadian design industry touches on some of the most iconic design moments of Canada’s history: creation of logos for Crown Corporations and Expo 67, which fall under what he calls the “Golden era” of design in Canada.

One of the most identifiable pieces of a country’s branding is the flag. In Canada, the maple leaf has evolved to hold as much symbolism as a brand’s logo might. It’s no surprise that this symbol is the focus of the country’s flag. In fact, George F.G. Stanley took the leaf’s meaning into account when he designed the flag in 1964.

When proposing his design via a written memo, Stanley claimed that the flag should be simple, recognizable, use traditional colors and symbols and be a “unifying force” for the country. Stanley examined Canada’s key emblems before settling on the leaf, which had already been used by citizens as a signifier for the country.

Stanley proposed two options for the flag, one with a single leaf and one with three maple leaves joined by the stem. Ultimately, Stanley argued for the single leaf design, claiming that the single leaf would have the "virtue of simplicity," being recognizable as "distinctly Canadian," and enabling it to become an iconic symbol.

DOO the SNAKMANDOO

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For millennials, the kitchen is a destination portal. Food crazes have pulled from unique places. Street-meat, market-fresh organic offerings and world spices mean you’re no longer limited to a standard definition of dinner (or to ordering-in, because let’s face it, that’s usually where the decision ends).

Enter Snakmandoo - taking you on a flavor quest to quench your cravings.

Bellisio Foods joined with Bridgemark to launch this new brand. Working from scratch can have its freedoms and restrictions, even more so with a younger target faced with ever-evolving trends and offerings.

And who is this millennial audience? They’re bold, young and on the hunt for experiences that ignite and inspire. They’re looking for brands that are real, without trying too hard: those that push the boundaries of creativity to awaken their passion for life, and for snacks they can’t wait to devour.

With Snakmandoo, the desire for free-spirited pursuits calls you to new possibilities – for flavors, for snacking, for meals in general. What’s stopping you from trying something you’ve never done, or going somewhere you’ve never been?

Story originally appeared on bxpmagazine.comYou can also see Snakmandoo featured in Strategy Magazine, World Packaging Design, The Drum , Packaging of the World and GDUSA.

The Power of Storytelling

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Communication continually adapts –spoken language turns into slang, written language becomes sound bites and texts. But despite change, there’s something universal about storytelling. What draws us back to stories – no matter the medium?

The simple answer is that stories compel. We remember good ones. They make us think, or at the very least, they help us understand.

Storytelling is a tool of Dramatic Simplicity™ – a way to make the simple remarkable. Take this quote*, for example: “A man’s interest in a single bluebird is worth more than a complete but dry list of all the fauna and flora of a town.” It is the relationship of the bird to man that captivates the reader. But why? Is it the bird’s environment? How it finds resources or shelter? Does the man follow the bird through its entire life pattern? The story of the man and the bird tells us something about the man himself – how he perceives the world and those around him.

The quote illustrates the power of storytelling, because the metaphor of the bird makes the concept tangible. We understand the meaning on impulse, no explanation required.

The aim of communication is to spread an idea, and to have people understand that idea. If your idea is not known and understood by your audience – be it a philosophy, a feeling, or a brand – it will be forgotten. Great storytelling ensures it is remembered.

*Henry David Thoreau

Bridgemark Awarded at PAC Canadian Leadership Gala

Left: Katherine Lorenzo, Associate Brand Manager for Hydro Silk with San Yee Nye, VP Account Director. Right: Natasha Sarracini, VP Account Director and Sandra Abreu, Account Manager with Premier Protein Organic Shakes.

Left: Katherine Lorenzo, Associate Brand Manager for Hydro Silk with San Yee Nye, VP Account Director. Right: Natasha Sarracini, VP Account Director and Sandra Abreu, Account Manager with Premier Protein Organic Shakes.

Bridgemark took home four wins at the PAC Canadian Leadership Awards Gala, hosted last night. Congratulations to our clients and studio!

  • Premier Protein Organic Shakes – Brand Marketing, New Brand
  • Dipitas - Brand Marketing, New Brand
  • Muskoka Springs – Brand Marketing, Revitalization
  • Schick Hydro Silk – Brand Marketing, Revitalization

You can view the complete online winners’ gallery here

Unleashing the Power Inside

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We love tension. For example: Dramatic Simplicity™.

In our latest “Creative Problem Solvers” workshop we tackled a new tension: vulnerability as a source for creativity. Inspired by Brené Brown’s Ted Talk, The Power of Vulnerability, we dove into this topic and the ways it affects our work.

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Margaret James from QCoaching moderated discussions about how to identify our own vulnerabilities, and how to support each other at times we might feel vulnerable. While feeling vulnerable often causes us to clam up and hold back, this session encouraged us to embrace vulnerability to move past our insecurities.

Nigel Downer of Second City led us through improv games, as we learned to let go of inhibitions. He also shared insights from working and writing at Second City, reminding us to approach every project with a “Yes, and…” attitude, always looking to build on an idea and make it even better.

As we look to implement our learnings, we’re turning the question outward to the industry: how does vulnerability impact your day-to-day work? And how can we take advantage of our vulnerabilities to reach new success?

#NationalCornDogDay

It all started in 1927, when Stanley S. Jenkins patented the iconic hot dog on a stick, known fondly as the corn dog. Now, this treat is recognized with its own holiday, #NationalCornDogDay. To celebrate, we staged a corn dog eating contest. 

With honor, pride and reputation at stake, two competitors put hours into training and mental preparation for this high-stakes showdown. Our agency gathered to answer the question on everyone's mind: Who will be top dog? 

This holiday is part of our "Every Day is a Holiday in 2017" campaign. Click here to find out why we're celebrating unusual and whimsical days this year, and tune in each month to join the celebration! 

Premier Protein Launches New Organic Shakes

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From gluten-free cookbooks to culinary bloggers, it’s clear that healthy has become mainstream. Clean-eating lingo is so widespread that it is spoofed in pop culture, such as Netflix’s new show “The Santa Clarita Diet.” Global trends support the growing popularity of nutrition: according to Nielsen, 62% of consumers are eating less sugary sweets, and 2 in 3 consumers are cutting down on fats. A recent study by Mintel also discovered that approximately 80% of Canadian women try to eat healthy.

Premier Protein has always offered products for the health-conscious shopper, and their Organic Shakes line provides a new way for consumers to fit nutrition into their busy, active lives.

Bridgemark worked with Premier Protein to brand this new line of shakes. Putting “Organic” front and center surrounded by delicious pieces of chocolate reminds consumers that they can choose clean foods that also satisfy indulgent taste. The brand differentiates in the club environment with premium cues and a highly recognizable badge calling out the quality of its 100% organic ingredients. 

Bridgemark Wins in Florida

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SlingShot, Muskoka Springs and Alpha-Bits took home awards at the PAC Global Leadership Awards Gala. The 2017 competition wrapped up at the Package Design Matters Conference in Bonita Springs, Florida, where award winners were presented with their certificates.

SlingShot is a craft beer by Radical Road, a microbrewery located in Downtown Toronto. The brand launched just ahead of Radical Road's Grand Opening last fall. Bridgemark’s rebrand for Muskoka Springs began with the brand’s signature Pale Ginger Ale. Since then, Muskoka Springs has continued to release new flavors, most recently with their Silver Birch Beer. Alpha-Bits' redesign inspires imagination and adventure. Whether it's searching for pirate treasures, a journey into space or an African safari, these limited edition boxes help kids find the story in every bowl.

Congratulations to our clients for these wins. For the full list of winners, view the online gallery here.

Bridgemark Puts its Right Brain to Work on Math

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Learning is about continually seeking and exploring new paths. Even if you start down one, another might emerge when questions and alternatives take shape. A leader in educational resources and best practices, Pearson Canada recognized this. Because of technology advances and behavioral shifts, the classroom landscape was changing to fit new learning styles, and many resources for teachers weren’t keeping up.

Mathology takes into account a holistic approach to today’s classroom. Like the process itself, the name reflects the non-linear style of teaching and learning. More than knowing how to get from A to B, teachers need to be able to forge new paths alongside their students.

Grounded in the Latin word for “the study of,” the name “Mathology” emphasizes Pearson’s research-based precision to communicate the program’s purpose: giving teachers confidence about teaching math in an engaging and accessible way. And the best way to build someone’s confidence is to turn them into an expert — a Mathologist. But there’s an element of playfulness to the brand as well. As well as being research-based, like biology or anthropology, it’s a word kids can digest. What’s Mathology all about? Why, Math of course!

Of all the subjects in school, math is arguably the most daunting. Maybe it’s because ultimately there’s always a right and a wrong answer. Mathology introduces students to the world of math by empowering them to explore deeper into the subject, building a strong foundation from the beginning as they grow up in school.

Brand Thoughts: What to Expect in 2017

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Trends – they evolve our thinking, engage curiosity, and ultimately shape our cultures. So what’s on the horizon for 2017?

Connected 2.0

While electronics have made distance between loved ones & colleagues less of an impediment, the desire for face-to-face interaction persists. Business travel is not in decline, despite the wide array of technological tools that make telecommuting a strong alternative. Inside the home, family is important like never before, as the reinstallation of the “family great room” has taken center stage once again. Walls are (literally) coming down in order to create larger spaces and to connect smaller rooms as one, leading to more time being spent inside the home and in the company of others – even as individuals take to their own activities.  

Tactile & Tangible

Over and above interpersonal connection, consumers are looking for experiences that gratify both the physical and the emotional. Pinterest and Instagram continue to be inspirational and aspirational – allowing individuals to curate collections of beauty. Retailers are taking cues from these interactive platforms and looking for ways to innovate the in-store experience. Whether it’s planning a new kitchen in real-time 3D at Lowes, or using VR in a North Face retailer to try on an outfit in the middle of Yosemite Park, the desire to “feel it” is driving new types of brick & mortar. Starbucks has leaned in and created the “Willy Wonka of coffee,” as Howard Schultz termed it. With a working roastery & tasting room, the café brings to life a crafted coffee bean experience that embraces all the human senses.

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As we look to color and design trends for 2017, Pantone releases a green that exudes vibrancy of life. This year’s "Color of the Year" also points to a cultural and behavioral longing for the year ahead. Despite the gloomy and controversial nature of 2016’s news, from Brexit to numerous celebrity deaths, Pantone’s focus on balance and re-birth brings optimism for the New Year. And while green may have specific semiotics within the world of branding, it is nevertheless important to ask how a brand can capitalize on being green and tap into the relevant symbolism.

2017 provides ample runway for brands to evolve the way they express themselves and show up at shelf. These emerging trends challenge brands to connect with consumers at a deeper and more personal level, and to consider how they offer optimism and balance to their consumers. How will you think about your brand?

Every Day is a Holiday in 2017

Digital media colors our world. More than a hobby that fills our time, social media is a tool for self-expression: Canadean reports that 29% of global consumers share an update on social media at least once a week*. By its nature, digital media fosters connections. Whether it’s through a hashtag, a Snapchat filter or a wacky holiday, digital media’s ability to create buzz, awareness and community spans geography and age.

Our 2017 calendar inspires connection by observing unique holidays made popular through social media. These aren’t the typical Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine’s Day holidays. Instead, we’re making a big deal of the unexpected, the fun and the unusual. From rubber ducks and donuts, to chocolate covered anything and lost socks, each of these days give us reason to step outside the conventional and appreciate the whimsical. Join us, and 2.67 billion social media users** by celebrating the unexpected this year.

We worked with illustrator Andrew Plewes to create original illustrations in honor of each day, including a bonus holiday – National Candy Cane Day on December 26th. We then created this short video to kick-off our celebrations. Enjoy!

*Canadean November 2016 Personal Inter-Connections TrendSights Analysis

**Statista

Bridgemark Wins Two GDUSA Awards

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GDUSA introduced a new category, “Creative Use of Color,” in the 2016 American Graphic Design Awards. Our agency business cards and our 2016 agency calendar recently earned recognition in this category.

Our business cards use backdrops from our local community, such as graffiti art, factory and barn walls, paying homage to the abundant texture and color all around us.

While the general consensus of Twitter, Reddit, and late night talk show bits deemed 2016 to be the worst, our agency calendar suggests otherwise. For 2016, we chose to celebrate the year of the monkey, bringing our role as creative problem solvers into a new light. Inspired by anamorphic art, we used accordion folds to create a trick illusion of two monkeys: creative or suit.

Congrats to our creative team on these wins! Click here to see our projects in the winners' gallery.

Bridgemark Wins at Creativity International

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Bridgemark received two Creativity International Awards in the 46th Print & Packaging competition: one for Olivieri, which also won a Pentaward this year and one for our own business cards.

Based on our core belief in dramatic simplicity, our business cards are a direct expression of our brand. We photographed backdrops from our local community – for example, factory and barn walls, as well as graffiti art. View this project & Olivieri in the winners’ gallery here.

Creativity International is an independent advertising and graphic design competition. This year, the competition received entries from over 40 countries. Congratulations to our client Catelli Foods and to our Creative Team for the wins!

Another Penta-win for Bridgemark

Fresh pasta...choice ingredients...and award-winning design. Olivieri brought home a Global Pentaward at the award ceremony in Shanghai - and we couldn't be happier for this dramatically simple brand!

Now in its 10th year, the Pentawards celebrate top packaging design from around the world. Judging creative quality and marketing relevance, the international jury deliberated entries from 54 participating countries. Congratulations to our client for this win!

See the full Winners Gallery here.

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Brand Love: What We Can Learn from The Hip

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Thoughts from our VP Strategy, Colleen Tapp

When it comes to brand love, we all know that making an emotional connection with consumers is critical. The bad news? According to a recent Forrester study, 9 out of 10 consumers say they feel nothing - no connection to brands, even those they purchase. So how can brands do better?

They can start by being more authentic, tapping in to consumers’ deeper needs, building loyalty over time by surprising and delighting their devoted followers, and by telling memorable brand stories that their supporters can call their own.

By being a little more like The Hip.

Much has been written over the summer about The Tragically Hip and their indefatigable frontman Gord Downie, who, diagnosed with an incurable brain cancer, performed what is likely the band’s last tour, inspiring fans with his courage, and arguably, even if just for a brief moment, helping us find our own true north – an identity for Canada that we could all get behind. The Hip thrilled us, made us all feel like we belonged to something and reminded us of the power of an emotional connection.

The lure of a can’t miss event, the heartbreaking reality of terminal cancer, and the last chance to see a beloved band perform no doubt drove the frenzy to score a ticket. But it was something even more than that – something real and deeply personal that made us stop in our tracks wherever we were, to watch them live or view the final Kingston concert from a pub in Tofino or a street party in Sydney.

With virtually no marketing, the Man Machine Poem Tour was a phenomenon which might have even eclipsed the Olympics in the hearts and souls of Canadians. What made us respond with a desire to be part of something larger and more meaningful than ourselves? What made it all so magical for fans?

Authenticity

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines authenticity as “being really what it seems to be; genuine,” which sounds simple enough, but is hard to achieve. The Hip, with raw, enduring rock and roll sensibility, poetically enigmatic lyrics and a character that is at once very Canadian yet very much their own, have always been undoubtedly true to their own spirit and personality – they are the real deal.

Intimacy

Despite selling over six million albums, The Hip’s relationship with their fans is also profoundly personal. While the concept of mortality (Gord’s and, hence, our own) drove the emotional response to the last tour, it was always deeper than that. Really great bands drive a connection with fans over time that is well beyond the music. It is a deep, personal history, an enduring relationship, experiences that mean something to us, and a fulfillment of deep unconscious needs – to belong, to be thrilled, to feel free. And when we feel deeply, it becomes part of who we are - we spread the word, we seek out the like-minded, we share our feelings.

Surprise & Delight

Even at a challenging time, The Hip fully embraced the opportunity to surprise and delight their fans: from Gord Downie’s memorable tour wardrobe and signature moves, to ever changing setlists, to convincing the CBC to suspend its Olympic coverage to air the last Kingston concert with commercial-free reverence (no doubt raising some much needed brand love for Canada’s public broadcaster), delighting fans who live streamed from coast to coast and beyond.

Storytelling

From the beginning, The Hip have been consummate storytellers, weaving tales that are both distinctly Canadian and completely universal. 38 Years Old, the story of an avenged rape, evoked such a sense of place, time and emotion that it left us with heavy hearts, while references like Jacques Cartier’s “real bum’s eye for clothes,” made us laugh out loud.  The stories they told resonated with fans, who in turn told their own personal Hip stories - stories about where they were, who they were and how they felt when they first heard that song or saw them live. Somewhere along the way, the fans themselves became the heroes of these stories.

And that, is a powerful connection.

Creating Brand Love, Teen Style

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Part Two of our series on the new youth demographic, by Colleen Tapp, VP Strategy

Brand loyalty is an ever shifting landscape, which, when it comes to teens, can come and go as fast as a Snapchat message.

Brands looking for attention from this notoriously fickle demographic need to be seen as the real deal. Armed with BS radars, teens are seeking out creative, original brands that understand them as they are, yet help them be better, cooler versions of themselves. For today’s teens, being different is the new fitting in, with YPulse reporting that 66% agree that being the same as everyone else is “boring.”        

Take clothing brands. Looks matter to teens, with 2/3 rating appearance as important according to the latest Statista report. Once teen darlings, Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister are falling out of favor as teens are increasingly turning to less conventional brands like Free People, Brandy Melville and Forever 21. Whether they admit it or not though, the desire to belong still holds sway with teens, leaving space for mainstream brands to stay relevant by associating with what teens value: Ralph Lauren, a seemingly mainstream brand makes the list, possibly due to favorite teen stars being seen in the label - we know teens love their celebrities. From T Swift and Drake to YouTube stars and the Kardashians - their idols are brands in themselves, able to foster a personal connection with mass audiences via social media. 

With the rise of Athleisure, (casual athletic clothing worn outside the gym) Nike has continued to be the top teen brand for the past five years. Seen as worthy of their time and money, and aligned with their values, Nike’s top athlete endorsements and technological innovation keep the brand both aspirational and relevant.

Like a dad trying to be cool to impress his teenage kids, brands who try too hard can backfire with teens - and timing is everything. When it comes to brands using slang like “bae” (before anyone else) once it reaches BuzzFeed, it quickly loses its cool edge, according to a 2016 Business Insider report on teens.

Clearasil, a leading teen brand, learned this lesson the hard way through some memes that didn’t quite fly with the target. But the brand turned it into a teachable moment: teens are tired of brands pretending to “get them.” So Clearasil used refreshing humor to admit that, while they know about teen acne, they know squat about teens themselves – ironically showing how much they do understand the demographic.

Screen Play: Where the Teens Are

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Insights from our VP Strategy, Colleen Tapp

Millennials…marketers have been chasing this coveted cohort for the last several years, watching their every move with keen interest. These digital natives have embraced technology and fundamentally changed the way brands communicate with consumers.

But they’re not the only kid in town. In an age where youth is currency, the even younger teen demographic is rising strong, with a few similarities to their millennial counterparts, but a unique voice all their own. Dubbed “digital homesteaders,” this pragmatic, tech savvy group has literally grown up with social media, and are very much in control of it.  

On average, teens get their first smartphone at age 11, and spend about six hours a day on their phones. They also spend time in front of television sets, gaming consoles, and computers, for a whopping 11 hours of screen time per day.  

And where exactly are they? According to a 2016 Piper Jaffray study, teens rated Snapchat as the most popular social media platform (28%), followed by Instagram (27%), Twitter (18%) and Facebook at 17%. Snapchat’s growth has been particularly meteoric thanks to its storytelling feature and continuous innovation. Snapchat’s enhanced privacy also appeals to teens with a growing anxiety that all this sharing can mean mistakes that live forever on the internet.    

Facebook, while still used by a wide majority of teens, is seen an outdated app for parents. Twitter was well liked for the ability to update friends quickly, voice opinions and interact with celebrities

Netflix is the most popular platform for watching TV series and movies. When it comes to music, Spotify is a top choice, letting teens find and share music, and see what their friends are listening to. Wishbone, the app that shows you two pop culture options and lets you vote on which one you like more, has become a teen favorite in a matter of months.

As social media pioneers, teens understand their power and know how to use it in shaping the media they consume. The well established, meticulous crafting of online personas and its illusion of perfection is something that teens are now beginning to question, craving more authenticity from brands, celebrities and themselves.