My dad is a pretty awesome dude. Nothing in life really fazes him. It’s like he’s seen it all, a bit like teenagers and social media. How would I know? Well, I’m 19.

Facebook has been around for a large part of my life, and today’s youth are growing up with it – it’s nothing new to us, it just exists. We use it because it’s a communication tool, not because we think it’s cool.

With social media, we can develop, edit and carefully craft our personal image. People everywhere are busy using it as a way to impress others. Did you know the airport is the most popular place to check-in with Facebook? It’s basically a way of telling your friends that “you’re so great because you’re getting out of this hell-hole and going somewhere amazing to continue being awesome”.

The “who is most awesome” contest is becoming so competitive that we are de-sensitising each other to anything impressive, your brand included.

To a teenager, big businesses are boring. Limitations forced by regulation and over complicated laws and being ‘on brand’ mean that these brands are forced to squash their creativity.

Being on brand is a vital tool for strong brand communication, but if you want to reach a teenage audience, you may have to forget about being on brand and try to focus on getting a look-in at all!

In 2007, With a budget of 6.2 million pounds, Cadbury prompted British agency Fallon London to step away from pushing their product through traditional advertising means, and instead produce “entertaining pieces” which would appeal to a broader range of consumers and spread through viral marketing – that is, through word of mouth. The Gorilla ad was created!

Shortly after being aired, it was added to YouTube where it received 500,000 views in the first week. Within a month, the video was viewed over six million times. Seventy Facebook groups were created appreciating the ad.

Cadbury were able to get that vital ‘look in’ from teenagers that most brands long for. They kept the branding subtle, verging close to non-existent and it worked.

Despite critics saying the ad developed little for the brand, Cadbury reported that sales of Dairy Milk had increased 9% during the period. The campaign was later used internationally in countries including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada.

Another company doing things differently is the international apparel brand AS Colour. This business manufactures and wholesales simple apparel to retailers, clothing companies and people seeking good quality apparel. Their social channels posted a real life challenge to followers that guaranteed them exposure.

AS Colour hid items of clothing in areas around Australia and New Zealand and told fans to find them, just like a scavenger hunt! This got people interacting with the brand in a much richer way than just clicking a like button on a screen and the content they could create from stories around the location of the clothing was highly engaged.

Were these campaigns on brand? A little. Did they get a ‘look in’? You bet. These are campaigns that have reached people like my friends and I as they created excitement and engaged us on a level that made us want to interact with them. Did we subsequently go out and buy some Cadbury chocolate? No, but I do know that the next time I’m in the chocolate aisle, that drumming gorilla may just be the thing that gives them the upper hand over the sea of other brands.

As long as Dad’s paying!

Matthew de la Vega is a ‘Panda’ and Content Co-Ordinator at REBORN.