From the Ad Age Archives: Dick Clark on Youth Ad Market

Columns from 1972, 1982 Shed Light on Generational Change

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Ad Age alum Jim Forkan emailed us on Wednesday, in the wake of Dick Clark's passing, to remind us that the "American Bandstand" leader had written a column for us once about youth marketing. We dug into the archives, and turns out he wrote two over the years. We dug them up and are posting them for your enjoyment.

Dick Clark circa 1961
Dick Clark circa 1961

In 1972, Mr. Clark wrote a piece that opened with his thoughts on youth grooming trends. (His own spotcheck found that roughly 80% of "American Bandstand" advertisers were beauty aids aiming to reach its largely young, female audience.)

He also offered a dose of youth-advertising advice, noting that that the 1970s generation wants "truth in advertising." His advice: "Make sure commercials are believable. The best advertising is a personal recommendation, but if you're using a 'star,' suit your star to the task for credibility's sake. Copywriters and stars should work together before production toward that end." He also recommends "judicious use of the vernacular of the day" -- but don't get caught using out-of -date lingo, such as "groovy" or "boss."

In 1982 he again penned a piece on the youth market, in which he recalled his nickname as "America's oldest teenager." One big difference between the 1950s and the 1980s? "Back in the 1950s I used to pick records, produce shows and 'advertise' the advertising world, armed with street knowledge and intuition about these kids. In the 1980s the research has become a little more sophisticated."

He went on: "I love kids. I've often said I prefer them to the older generation. They're more fun, they're not jaded, they keep you young ... and they are the first to experiment. ... I've seen them lead the way -- not only in the sociological and political aspects of life, but out there on the street of commerce."

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