KARACHI, December 5, 2012
— Young Pakistanis are disillusioned by their country’s leadership, disheartened by the economic outlook and desperate for a radical change, according to a recent in-depth survey on the outlook and attitudes of Pakistan youth conducted by JWT Pakistan.
Anxiety levels among this demographic is high. JWT’s survey shows nine in 10 young Pakistanis are anxious about events in their lives and the world around them, and the majority of respondents think the economy, job security, housing costs, the threat of terrorism and the crime rate in their community is going to get worse over the next six months. Nearly 70% have no idea when the economy will improve, or think it will never improve, and 54% would rather live in another country. Youth also feel that current political system is not working properly, and 92% feel that ‘revolutionary change’ is needed to improve the country’s political situation - although most youth want this to happen peacefully, at the ballot box.
Pakistani youth are striving to balance religion and culture with a desire to progress and keep pace with the rest of the world. Youngsters show a liberal attitude towards a range of issues, from whether men and women can work and study together, to choosing their own spouses. They also feel they are more outspoken, and are more likely to voice their opinions on issues that matter to them, compared to their parent’s generation. Young adults feel their sense of religious identity is stronger than the prior generation, although they are less likely to adhere to specific religious practices. Religious identity is indeed much more important for today’s Pakistani youth than national identity.
“This survey offers unique insights into the hearts and minds of young Pakistanis - and some real surprises. Pakistani youth are searching for their identity during an unsettling and uncertain time, and are taking paths that sometimes diverge from the one their parents chose,” says Noaman Asar, National Planning Director for JWT Pakistan. “One thing is clear: Pakistan is a very young country, and any individual or organization who wants to communicate with Pakistani youth needs to set assumptions aside and spend some time getting to know this fast-changing demographic."
The 15-to-29 year old demographic makes up nearly one-third of Pakistan’s population, and this constituency will gain size and strength over the next five years as younger teens, who likely share similar views, graduate into this cohort. The voice of Pakistani youth will play a key role in shaping the country’s social, political and economic landscape over the next few years – even potentially impacting next year’s elections. Indeed, 73% of the youth we surveyed who were over 18, and are eligible to vote, plan to exercise that right in upcoming elections. The majority of respondents in 5 out of 8 cities say they will vote for the opposition PTI, headed up by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan.
The mindset of today’s young adults has important implications for brands and advertisers in this large, high-potential market. Brands can tap into this deep-seated desire for change with messaging that leverages the evergreen theme of youthful revolution. Communications that give a call to action, or serve as a rallying cry, will appeal to hearts and minds of Pakistani youth. Brands could position themselves as agents of change by championing a range of social or environmental issues. Humorous ads that provide a break from the stresses of day to day life in Pakistan also play well. Youth see TV as an escape from the grim realities, and recall of TV commercials that are funny and entertaining is notably high.
“Pakistan is one of the key ‘Next-11’ markets, and it’s important for us to gain a deep understanding of the all-important youth demographic in order to deliver insightful communications for our clients,” said Michael Maedel, President, JWT Asia Pacific. “Pakistan’s young adults are increasingly important decision makers, not just of tomorrow - but also today.”
JWT and Winning Solutions conducted a series of in-person door-to-door interviews with 1,749 young adults, aged 15 to 29, in eight major Pakistani cities in June, 2012.
To read the full report, click on www.jwt.com/atimeforchange.
About JWT APAC
JWT opened their first offices in Asia Pacific in 1929. JWT APAC, headquartered in Singapore, today has more than 3,000 employees spread across 18 countries.
Not only are we recognized as one of the largest and most experienced agencies in APAC, but also one of the most creative. In 2011, we captured Mainland China’s first Cannes Grand Prix Lion and first Grand LIA at the London International Awards. We were also named the number 3 Network Agency of the Year at Spikes Asia. Our long history of firsts continues with Lo Sheung Yan, China Chairman and Northeast Asia ECD, being appointed as Cannes Lions first ever Jury President from China.
In addition to working with JWT’s prestigious multinational clients, JWT APAC works with some of Asia’s largest brands including Haier, Indosat, Bharti Airtel and Korea Ginseng & Tobacco.
JWT is the world’s best-known marketing communications brand. Headquartered in New York, JWT is a true global network with more than 200 offices in over 90 countries employing nearly 10,000 marketing professionals.
JWT consistently ranks among the top agency networks in the world and continues its dominant presence in the industry by staying on the leading edge—from producing the first-ever TV commercial in 1939 to developing award-winning branded content for brands such as Smirnoff, Macy’s, Ford and HSBC.
JWT’s pioneering spirit enables the agency to forge deep relationships with clients including Bayer, Bloomberg, Cadbury, Diageo, DTC, Ford, HSBC, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft, Nestlé, Nokia, Rolex, Royal Caribbean, Schick, Shell, Unilever, Vodafone and many others. JWT’s parent company is WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY).
Asia Pacific Director of Corporate Communications