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H A SHTAGN ATION m a rke t ing to t he sel fie gener at ion
table of contents a new balance OF power Values-Based Marketing Gives Way to Utility & Engagement Factoring IN New Consumerism Closing Thoughts 6 12 36 44
4 Who are Prosumers? About the Study In early 2014, Havas Worldwide partnered with Market Probe International to survey 10,574 people aged 16+ in 29 markets: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam. Our aim was to develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between young people and brands. The survey sample was made up of 20 percent leading-edge Prosumers and 80 percent mainstream consumers. Prosumers are today’s leading influencers and market drivers — and have been a focus of Havas Worldwide studies for more than a decade. Beyond their own economic impact, Prosumers are important because they influence the brand choices and consumption behaviors of others. What Prosumers are doing today, mainstream consumers are likely to be doing six to 18 months from now. Learn more at http://www.prosumer-report.com.
5 MARKETING TO THE SELFIE GENERATION Adolescents and young adults have long been a focus of marketers — and not just because of their current purchasing power, but because these formative years are known to have a lasting influence on brand preference. Research from RoperASW shows that around age 11, children begin to break away from their parents’ brand choices and experiment with competitor brands. By age 18, adolescents begin to narrow down their brand preferences and choose favorites. We know a great deal has changed since modern youth culture first took hold during the post-WWII era. As we explored in our earlier studies of millennials, the way youth think and behave has undergone dramatic change since that most famous generation of youth, the baby boomers, came of age in the 1960s. But what does this mean for marketers? How have young people’s expectations of brands changed? And what should brands be doing to establish themselves as trusted, dynamic partners in the lives of young people in this markedly different era? To find out, we teamed with Market Probe International on an online survey of 10,574 teens and adults around the globe. We came away with essential insights into the relationship between young people and brands. Note that this is not a broad study of youth, but of the connections that young people have with the brands they favor. To delve more deeply into the unique characteristics of our newest generation of young adults, please see our earlier Prosumer Report, “Millennials: The Challenger Generation.”
7 A New Balance OF Power
8 The good news for marketers is that today’s youth are significantly more apt than their elders to recognize — and value — the role brands play in their lives. Nearly half of our youngest respondents — versus just a quarter of those aged 55+ — characterize brands as “essential.” This should not be taken to mean, however, that brand communicators have cracked the youth-marketing code. On the contrary, 4 in 10 respondents aged 16–34 complain that brands don’t take young people seriously enough. All too often, companies talk down to their youth targets, attempting to appeal to the lowest-common-denominator elements rather than take the time to develop a more nuanced approach. Brands play an essential role in my life 45% 35% 25% 16–34 35–54 55+
9 Brands also need to recognize that they’re now dealing with a generation of consumers who are much savvier than their parents were at that age. Young people have an innate understanding of marketing and of their value as consumers. And they’re significantly more likely than older generations to believe they have the capacity to help a brand succeed or fail. And why wouldn’t they think that? Virtually every day they see some evidence of the power of ordinary people to effect change, whether it’s using Twitter to foment a rebellion in the Middle East or using social media to compel a company to behave better. And so as much as they recognize the importance of brands in their own lives, they see it as a relationship among equals — and they expect brands to treat them accordingly. Brands don’t take young people seriously enough 41% 30 % 23% 16–34 35–54 55+
10 What do we mean by “young”? In general, we’ve focused on those aged 16–34, but that includes three distinct subgroups: 16–20 21–25 26–34 high school + first years of university end of studies + beginning of work active people with more purchasing power and now truly independent The full data set, including breakouts by these subgroups, is available to Havas Worldwide employees and clients.
11 “Young people have an innate understanding of their value as consumers.”
13 Values-Based Marketing Gives Way to Utility & Engagement
14 Ever since youth culture became a defined concept, marketers have been using the unique values of youth as an “in” to young consumers. Beginning in the 1950s, being young essentially meant being “against.” Against bourgeois values. Against the so-called military-industrial complex. Against authority and the mores of earlier generations. Youth expressed themselves by adopting a new, hedonistic form of music and wearing sexually provocative clothing, at once shocking their elders and establishing their individuality. Parents and their teens lived in two very different worlds. Advertisers and their agencies understood the dynamic well and developed great campaigns that played with symbols of rebellion, fun, and an anti-establishment ethos. From Levi’s to Pepsi and Mars, brands knew to play up generational gaps and create a universe in which youth values ruled.
15 Then something changed. As the “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” baby boomers gave way to the slacker Xers and digitally immersed millennials, the values chasm between young and old began to shrink. In part, this is because the baby boomers have ferociously clung onto youth and the values associated with it, including freedom, fun, and rebellion. Meanwhile, their children and grandchildren have less interest in rebellion and revolution than in tinkering and hacking together solutions to problems as they arise. We can see this in a survey BETC conducted in France in 2009 in the midst of the economic crisis. While the highest percentage of respondents aged 55+ said the crisis made them want to revolt, the youngest respondents were more inclined to simply be worried about or even resigned to the situation. Destruction has no place within maker culture. It’s telling, too, that the Occupy Wall Street protests of 2011 were distinctly multigenerational rather than youth-led. In fact, Kalle Lasn was in his late 60s at the time he cofounded the movement. The chronologically young no longer own the concept of “youth” because youthfulness is now as much about spirit and attitude as about age.
16 “destruction has no place WITHin maker culture.”
17 Youth aren’t revolutionaries anymore % aged 18–25 agreeing strongly or somewhat 17 % I don’t have any common values with the previous generations 92 % It is very important to me that my parents trust me 61 % Social media is the new power of youth Source: Havas Worldwide Millennials Study, 2011
18 From Dropping Out to DIY When the baby boomers were coming of age in the US, those who were unsatisfied with the status quo could drop out, join a mainstream protest movement (hot topics: the war in Vietnam, civil rights, women’s equality), or take a more radicalized route with a group such as the Black Panthers, SDS, or Weather Underground. A half century later, the newest generation of youth aren’t so much interested in joining as in doing. They’re growing up as part of maker culture — a movement that celebrates selfreliance and hands-on solutions. Though a lot of maker culture is technology based (e.g., 3-D printing, robotics, mobile apps), it also extends to traditional arts such as woodworking and crafts. It’s about applying practical skills to pressing problems, hacking and tinkering, and not waiting for someone else to fix the problem first.
19 This shift poses an issue for brand communicators: If we can’t talk to young people based on a generation-specific set of values, how can we appeal to them independently from other generations and in a way that builds deep and lasting connections? The answer is not to move away from communications based on age and life stage, but to focus on two elements of immense importance to this newest generation: engagement and utility. For what sets young people apart from older generations today is less what they think and feel and more how they spend their time and what tools they use to ease the flow of their lives. In industries as disparate as entertainment and transportation, hospitality and retail, young people are partnering with those brands that are most closely aligned with their ways of living and doing. They don’t want Hilton; they want Airbnb. They don’t want city cabs; they want Uber. They don’t want CBS or the BBC or another national network; they want Netflix and Hulu Plus. These are brands that fit seamlessly into the digital lifestyle: They’re simple, fast, on demand, and customizable. Does this mean established brands have no chance against startups? Absolutely not. Look at the success of Nike with its digital communities. Or Oreo with its of-the-moment tweets. What matters is that brands stay plugged in to young people’s ways of life and preferred means of communication, entertainment, and mores. How should they do that? By connecting with this age group in the three areas most critical to young people’s sense of identity: the social sphere, pop culture, and technology.
20 Social Sphere Key learning • Individualized strategic arsenals help young people improve their social standing. • Tweens and teens especially value brands that help them stand out.
21 Share and share alike Ev e r y d a y … Facebook 350MM photos shared WHATSAPP 700MM photos snap c h a t 500MM snapS t wi t t e r 500MM TWEETS 50BN MESSAGES Adolescence is all about the construction of self. As their bodies and social interactions undergo massive change, youth become highly attuned to — in some cases, obsessed by — how they look and the image they project to others. Countless hours are spent refining or even completely overhauling that image. Social networking has served to amplify this natural impulse to an extreme. As of July 2014, 145 million photos had been posted on Instagram under the hashtag #selfie, primarily by young people. For better or worse, preteens and teens are using social networks to share their nascent images with the world. Some are posting carefully curated versions of themselves and their worlds. Others are putting themselves out there as they are and inviting their peers to judge them. “Am I pretty or ugly?” “Hot or not?” Points of approval — in the form of a supportive comment, a new follower on Instagram or Twitter, a dozen more Facebook friends — are tallied and compared with those of others. The judgments and jockeying for position are not so different from what you’d find in any schoolyard or high school cafeteria, except that this social sphere runs 24/7/365 and incorporates both classmates and strangers near and far. This digital sociability rewards and perpetuates the notion that whatever a young person is feeling or thinking or doing deserves an audience. The rawer an emotion, the more likely it is to spread. Secrets are no longer locked away in diaries but posted for discussion. Intimacy becomes “extimacy,” as sexting becomes normalized. And all the while, every moment is being scrutinized and commented on — contributing to each participant’s sense of self, for good or ill.
22 What does this mean for brands? Brands are already part of young people’s social universes. Nearly two-thirds of respondents aged 16–34 encourage their friends to use certain brands — and we know from our earlier studies that a lot of those recommendations take place online, especially among Prosumers. But there are more ways for brands to be helpful than by fulfilling specific product or service needs. In the digital sphere, brands should be helping young people by: • Offering shareable content • Contributing to strategic arsenals • Creating experiences they can talk about Content Sixty percent of respondents aged 16–34 (vs. 39 percent of those aged 55+) consider brands to be an important part of the creative content online. Pure entertainment is part of that content, but smart brands are also contributing material that improves life for its young audience in some way. DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse) has amassed a Facebook fan base that’s nearly 2.5 million strong. In addition to tips and chat, the site rewards its customers with Free Shoe Days (be one of the first to answer a trivia question correctly to win) and promotions that give fans a role to play — for instance, inviting them to vote on the print design to be featured in stores during the Spring 2015 season. It’s also important to give young people a way to contribute to content directly. A majority of our youngest respondents said they like it when brands ask their customers to get involved in their content creation. Last year, Virgin Mobile ran a commercial on MTV and Comedy Central that was a mashup of Vine videos created as part of a contest. Sharpie’s Instagram page features images of the artwork fans have created using Sharpie permanent markers.
23 Brands are an important part of the creative content online 60 % 52 % 39 % 66% 50 % 16–34 35–54 55+ Prosumers Mainstream
24 Strategic Arsenals Conversational Currency Being constantly looked at and judged by others puts enormous pressure on young people, and so they’ve become adept at creating individualized sets of digital tools that help them navigate the social waters. They may use Snapchat to increase their level of intimacy with a member of their social circle. They may use Instagram to create an idealized version of their home lives. They may spend time creating Vines to establish their artistic bent or sense of humor. Having a great story to tell has always been valuable, but perhaps never more so than at a time when we can share our adventures with so many. In Ireland, the Jameson Cult Film Club is a chance for the whiskey brand to connect with its fans through events built around screenings of cult-favorite films. This year, the screening of the 1999 classic Fight Club included a chance for select participants to prank a friend into believing he was expected to take part in a bare-knuckle, no-holds-barred fight with a hulking stranger. Pranksters and punked alike walked away with a great tale to tell. Brands can also be part of that arsenal by easing social pressures and helping their young customers to stand out in a positive way. The Hunt is a site that does this well. Creating a signature look can be a daunting prospect for anyone, but especially for teen girls and young women entering the workforce. This community-powered shopping site helps fashion-interested females locate and buy items they’ve admired on Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and other sites. But it’s about more than shopping: Community members can ask to be “styled” by others — offering pertinent background information and receiving in return peer recommendations for specific outfits and looks. In Costa Rica, fashion retailer Forever 21 helped out its young fans by awarding the first 100 customers who showed up at a store opening the Closet S.O.S. emergency wardrobe service. Faced with a fashion bind, these lucky customers could call in the troops, in the form of a van filled with on-trend clothing. Crisis averted! In Malaysia, Milo chocolate milk got teens to return to—and talk up — the brand by reinventing the national game as Twisted Football (soccer). Specially designed goalposts were installed at 10 universities overnight, along with an informational board that explained the new rules with a QR code. A regular goal still earned one point, but goals shot through the special triangles, loops, and other shapes earned more. People were then invited to submit their own Twisted Goalpost designs on Facebook and to vote to determine which would be created for a tournament. The Facebook component resulted in nearly 140,000 new “likes” and more than 12,000 contest submissions. And teens and 20-somethings had a whole new sport to talk about.
25 SOCIAL NETWORKS AS STRategic arsenal rd for Official ID ca iends d fr family an Short-lived & instantaneous intimacy with friends Turn your daily life into a beautiful picture Become popular be your immediate pee yond r group Ask provocative questions of people you know Show how creative & fun you are Indulge in instant messaging Share your darkest secrets anonymously I like it when brands ask consumers to get involved through crowdsourcing, creating brand videos, etc. 54% 44% 28% 61% 42 % 16–34 35–54 55+ Prosumers Mainstream
26 Pop ROCKS Key learning • Global dominates. • The means of consumption is nearly as important as the content.
27 “how one consumes has become almost as important as what one consumes.” Pop culture is central to defining who youth are — and who they want to be. It’s not just present when they’re watching TV or listening to music; rather, it’s infused throughout their lives, from what they wear to how they talk and even what they think. A majority of respondents aged 16–34 agreed that pop culture has influenced their personalities and attitudes. The figures are even higher among Prosumers, suggesting this trend will continue to grow. What pop culture are we talking about? For the most part, global pop culture, and, in 2014, that still primarily means American. The pressure to make huge profits with massive hits means creativity is sacrificed in favor of the tried and true. A very narrow range of themes and character types are returned to again and again. While the content remains largely the same from year to year, the way it’s consumed and shared continues to evolve. This is where innovation — and brand allegiance — lies. Spotify and Netflix become as important to one’s popculture diet as the music and movies consumed.
28 My personality has been influenced by the pop culture I watch/listen to 51% 38% 25% 54% 38% 48% 34% 16–34 35–54 55+ Prosumers Mainstream Emerging Developed My attitudes have been formed in large part by the pop culture I watch/listen to 50 % 37% 28% 53% 38% 47% 34% 16–34 35–54 55+ Prosumers Mainstream Emerging Developed
29 I feel more connected to brands that are involved in pop culture 48% 36% 22 % 51% 48% 49 % 42 % 16–34 35–54 55+ 16–20 21–25 26–30 31–35 In general, I spend more time consuming global pop culture than I do my local pop culture 57% 44% 31% 52 % 42 % 16–34 35–54 55+ Emerging Developed
30 What does this mean for brands? Brands must plug themselves in to what matters to youth, with pop culture being front and center. They should provide access to cultural content and experiences, and they need to recognize that there are virtually no limits to the ways channels can be minced and mashed together to create a media diet unique to the individual. It’s not just about pop versus rock anymore or romantic comedies versus horror films. A person may live deep within the world of metalcore or industrial, steampunk or Jiangshi fiction, magic realism or Shenmo fantasy. This amazing diversity opens up opportunities for much more targeted engagement by brands. Consider accessory and apparel company Electric Family, which caters to fans of electronic dance music (EDM). Its purpose beyond profits is to promote volunteerism and social activism within the EDM community. Sales of its artist-designed bracelets support a number of charities, including the Miami Children’s Health Foundation (Cedric Gervais) and the Joyful Heart Foundation (Pegboard Nerds). In addition to other content, their blog now features a weekly #MusicMonday playlist of EDM artists, further engaging its customers and giving them content to share and talk about. Think of ways to play into the passions of micro-audiences. When a test pressing of an unreleased album by cult-favorite ambient composer Aphex Twin appeared on music marketplace Discogs, 4,000+ fans banded together on Kickstarter to fund a digital release. The sole physical copy was awarded to the highest bidder on eBay ($46,300), with proceeds being divided among the artist, label, Kickstarter backers, and a charity. There’s plenty of opportunity for brands to tap in to passionate fan bases of this type, whatever their size. Influencer endorsements — particularly unpaid — also are effective among this celebrity-obsessed generation. From Beats by Dr. Dre to Puff Daddy/P. Diddy’s Sean John clothing line and the Kardashian Kollection, young people have grown up with the notion of celebrities as brands and style arbiters, and they are also conscious of the impact of what they wear/ drive/own on their own personal brands. Far more so than older generations, today’s youth feel good about seeing people they admire using the same brands they favor. Connecting with pop-culture personalities can work for even the most unlikely brands. Los Angeles indie pop duo Capital Cities went from being featured on the NBA’s weekly Jam Session to headlining a free concert and dance party sponsored by… Depends, a maker of disposable undergarments for adults. It was part of the brand’s Underwareness campaign to spread the word that incontinence is not a problem limited to the aged.
31 Product placement continues to be an effective way to capture the attention of young consumers, as well. Consider the 22 percent sales increase MINI Coopers saw after the car was featured in the remake of the movie The Italian Job. Or the estimated $10 million in marketing value garnered by American Apparel when the members of boy band One Direction wore the retailer’s Fisherman’s Pullover gray sweater in their 2013 “You & I” video. 51% 38% 16–34 35–54 55+ 68% 49 % Prosumers Serendipity can also come into play. Matthew Inman turned Huy Fong sriracha into a pop-culture phenomenon by paying homage to the brand in his popular online comic strip The Oatmeal. The spicy condiment’s rooster image is now emblazoned on everything from posters and T-shirts to lip balm and air fresheners. 60 % Mainstream It makes me feel good when I see someone I admire using the same brand I use
32 DIGIDENTITY Key learning • The tech brands youths favor become part of their self-identities. • Any brand can be a tech brand.
33 Whereas previous generations grew up clinging to dolls, balls, and toy cars, a child today is every bit as likely to be glued to an iPad or smartphone. In this new era, tech companies are the brands closest to young people’s hearts, for a number of reasons: • They’re ubiquitous — following us from home to school or work, to restaurants, into stores, and on vacation. • They’re reinventing social bonds, giving us new ways to communicate (e.g., Skype, Snapchat) and interact (e.g., Tinder, Uber). • They embody the future. From Google Glasses and driverless cars to sharing apps, tech brands promise to change how we live. Whether one’s talking about Apple or Airbnb, Tesla or Twitter, technologybased companies are at the center of innovation, and the world they are creating is where young people want to be (preferably ahead of their peers). 1 2 3 Millennials’ Top 10 Brands dy n a m i s m r a n k i n g Source: Havas Worldwide Brand Momentum Study, 2014 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
34 tech brands follow us anywhere, anytime, for everything
35 What does this mean for brands? Regardless of industry, brands need to think of smarter ways to put tech at the core of their products and services. Adidas does this particularly well. Although not as closely associated with digital technology as its rival Nike, the sports apparel brand continues to find creative ways to immerse its fans in high-tech experiences, whether it’s by allowing customers to use 3-D printing to customize their Stan Smiths in a pop-up store in London or with its interactive digital windows that let people shop at storefronts after hours. Natural mineral water may be as low-tech as products come, but with its Secret Place promotion, Perrier created an immersive experience (online and mobile) that suited the sophistication of the brand. Participants attended a virtual “secret party” as one of 60 characters. Once there, they searched through the interactive video experience to find treasure, ultimately unlocking the chance to win a trip to Ibiza, Saint-Tropez, the Carnival in Rio, Art Basel in Miami, or New Year’s Eve in Sydney. While UNIQLO is ostensibly a fashion brand, its founder insists it’s actually a tech company. Technology is infused throughout the brand — from the Magic Mirrors that change the color of the outfit one’s trying on to its HEATTECH fabric, which absorbs body moisture to generate heat. And then there’s Oscar Mayer, which managed to make one of its meat products high-tech by creating an alarm clock device and app that lets users awaken to the sound and scent of sizzling bacon. More than 300,000 people applied to win the limited-edition product, and the companion campaign garnered more than 450 million earned media impressions.
36 Factoring in NEW Consumerism
38 As we have seen, young people’s consumption choices and brand preferences are intertwined with the social universes in which they live, the pop culture they consume, and the technologies they use. They are also heavily influenced by the New Consumerism trend that continues to take hold around the world. Like older generations, millennials are rethinking society’s approach to consumption and also how they, as individuals, consume. Mindless accumulation no longer offers the pleasure hits it once did; instead, people are feeling weighed down by clutter, remorseful about their complicity in harming the planet, and more mindful of the human costs of that recently purchased gold necklace or exotic coffee. Whereas conspicuous consumption once inspired envy in many people, now it is more apt to incite disdain. “MINDLESS accumulation no longer offers the pleasure hits it once did.”
39 I could happily live without most of the items I own 53% 52% 50% 16–34 35–54 55+
40 “Don’t underestimate the allure of a good deal.” New Consumerism also encompasses the shift toward more active participation in the consumption cycle. We know from our recent “The New Consumer and the Sharing Economy” study that young people are driving the new collaborative consumption models, including crowdfunding, sharing services, and peer-to-peer sales. This generation’s embrace of a more hands-on approach to commerce can be explained in part by their desire to interact with other people and accumulate experiences. Modern life can be awfully artificial and disconnected, as we’re now able to bring in information, entertainment, and an entire world of products and services by touching a few buttons rather than interacting with actual human beings. But collaborative consumption isn’t just about living more mindfully; it’s also about saving money and feeling like smarter shoppers. Don’t underestimate the allure of a good deal among members of this newest generation — especially one that’s combined with a social component. Consider how Apple has made itself accessible to a much broader swath of consumers with its iPod Shuffle — an MP3 player that’s four to six times less expensive than the Nano or Classic but as beautifully designed as any Apple product. Or how Airbnb, Couchsurfing, and VRBO have turned inexpensive alternatives to traditional hotels into something cool, not cheap. Think, too, about the success of tiered services such as Deezer, Pandora, Hulu, and Vimeo, which offer basic access at no cost, plus tiered subscription rates for additional features.
41 OVERCONSUMPTION IS PUTTING OUR SOCIETY AND THE PLANET AT RISK 70 % 72 % 69 % 77% 69 % 16–34 35–54 55+ Prosumers Mainstream I PREFER TO SHARE THINGS RATHER THAN OWN THEM 51% 45% 37% 16–34 35–54 55+
42 Like earlier generations, today’s youth want more bang for their bucks. The difference is that their preferred “bang” isn’t about getting more; it’s about getting a product or service that specifically fits their needs. No more. No less. I SHOULD NOT HAVE TO PAY TO LISTEN TO MUSIC OR WATCH A MOVIE/TV SHOW 54% 51% 49% 16–34 35–54 55+
43 Which aspects of the sharing economy appeal to you? 69 % Saving money 5 4% Feeling active and useful 47 % Reducing my consumption/carbon footprint 45% Meeting new people 42% Having an interesting experience 42% Supporting individuals and/or small, independent companies Contributing to the movement away from hyperconsumption I have no interest in the sharing economy 37 % 6%
44 Closing Thoughts
45 Targeting young people is no longer about playing up the disconnect from older generations. Nor is it about telling them who they should be. Rather, it’s about helping them optimize their authentic selves by giving them the tools and ammunition they need to stand apart from their peers in a positive way. This is a generation that values experiences over things, and they are wide open to brands that are able to fulfill their desire for emotional connections, conversational currency, and focused functionality. The most vital brands will infuse themselves throughout young people’s daily lives — by contributing to the social experience online, by being a vibrant component of pop culture, by interacting through technology in helpful and imaginative ways, and by offering products and services that are broadly accessible and easily customized. The goal is no longer to be a brand for everyone, but to be a brand for each one.
46 Prosumer Reports is a series of thought leadership publications by Havas Worldwide — part of a global initiative to share information and insights, including our own proprietary research, across the Havas Worldwide network of agencies and client companies. Havas Worldwide is a leading integrated marketing communications agency and was the first to be named Global Agency of the Year by both Advertising Age and Campaign in the same year. The Havas Worldwide network is made up of 11,000 employees in 316 offices in 120 cities and 75 countries, and provides advertising, marketing, corporate communications, and digital and social media solutions to some of the largest global brands. Headquartered in New York, Havas Worldwide is the largest unit of the Havas group, a world leader in communications (Euronext Paris SA: HAV.PA). Find out more about Prosumer Reports at www.havasworldwide.com/prosumer-report or by contacting Matt Weiss, global chief marketing officer, at email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter @prosumeR_report.
Volume 19, 2014