Call them Post-Youth, Gen-Z or straight-up Youts, this highly influential group of 16-24 year olds are radically changing the definition of what it means to be young today according to the Protein youth report.

Born woke – informed, inquisitive and self-educating with a heightened awareness of race, gender and politics – they’re coming-of-age faster than any generation before them. Intuitively cynical of big brands, global media and the establishment, they’re searching out the authentic as well as fetishising the fake; pursuing personal progression and communal creativity on one side, whilst subverting reality and tearing down social constructs on the other.

All this brings a potent mix of scepticism and optimism to the way they interact with each other and the world around them. This report takes a closer look at some of these attitudes and behaviours and what it means for the brands trying to navigate them.

The report starts by examining the drivers of these attitudes and behaviours under the labels:

  • Common Control
  • Personal Refinement
  • Positive Failure
  • Working It
  • Branded Existence
  • Fluid Culture

It then digs deeper into the authentic and fake outcomes of these drivers. From an authentic standpoint, today’s culturally progressive youth are realising that for too long, society has been developing in an inauthentic manner. They’re going through a period of self-realisation that the world they live in was created neither by them nor for them. This manifests itself in views labelled as:

  • Anxious But Open
  • Restrain And Abstain
  • Leisure Is Labour
  • Communal Curriculum
  • Inappropriate Appropriation
  • Publication As Representation
  • For Us By Us
  • New Identities

From a fake standpoint, the world is witnessing a collapse of trust in institutions, from education and government, to business and media. It’s prompting the youth to ask a deep-seated question: “Is the truth even relevant anymore”? If even our most traditionally trusted institutions are failing to keep promises, then who’s to say bending reality isn’t fair game to all? The result is an emerging fascination with concepts that pertain to ‘Fake’. This manifests itself in views labelled as:

  • New Lexicon
  • Fake Optimism
  • Role Play
  • Avatar Influencers
  • Utopian Worlds
  • Fake Is The New Craft
  • Brandom Fandom
  • Legit Check

To get into the detail of these drivers and views, download the Protein youth report here.