Youth is wasted on the young. Free from decrepitude and regret, with a thousand possible lives ahead of them, you'd expect the young to be elated, hopeful, ambitious and dripping with anticipation.
But they're not. The young are choosing to be sad. Reflective. Brooding. Emotional.
And they're not doing it alone. This is not the passive, bedroom-bound emotion of solitude that has forever been a feature of adolescence. Instead this is a shared experience with it's own genre of music, code of behaviours and dress sense. "Emo" is both personal experience and badge of allegiance... performing the same function that Mod, Punk, Goth, Grungehead and Candy Raver have in previous editions of adolecence.
Now the term "Emo" has been hanging round music for a while, but in the last few years it has been given a clear new meaning... the display of strong emotion. And this makes it quite unique as a muscial genre... because "emo" is not defined by a structure or style of music, but simply by the effect it has on the listener. If it evokes strong emotion, it's "emo"... so potentially this is a very large genre. For starters, check out My Chemical Romance, Death Cab for Cutie, Thursday, Jimmy Eat World and Funeral for a Friend. You might also want to explore "screamo" a new sub-genre of "emo".
If you're not sure how you feel about the music, you can take this test to find out whether you're "emo" or not. But if "emo" gets your amygdala popping, then I highly recommend you drag your self-loathing down to Feeling Gloomy... "the UK's only club night that brings you the saddest, most melancholy music known to man". I've been. It's great.
So if the kids are inviting gloom and sadness upon themselves, then surely brands that want to get close need to shroud themselves in melancholy? Yet I can't think of a single brand that makes "emo ads". Can it really be so hard to get a little brand loyalty out of a glum adolescent?