Fanbytes by Brainlabs and MAD//Fest London have unveiled the results of a new report to help brands better understand Gen Z’s attitudes towards sex. 

‘Sex, Sexuality and Body Image: Understanding Gen Z And How Brands Can Work With Them’ shines a light on the differences between Gen Z and millennials, the way young people use platforms such as TikTok, and what brands can do to make sure they are hitting the right notes when talking about these sensitive subjects.

Whilst brands are increasingly addressing the issues of sex, sexuality and body image with younger people, the report found a broken feedback loop between brands and GenZ. This has led brands to take the wrong kind of action when speaking to Gen Z, even when their actions have been well intentioned.

The study explores emerging trends that should influence the way brands engage with Gen Z, including: 

  • How Gen Z is curating the content they want to see for themselves
  • Why “sex positivity” is a turn off for may Gen Zers
  • How brands can work with influencers to inform and communicate effectively with Gen Z
  • Why Gen Z thinks brands are “all talk, no action” when it comes to the representation of LGBTQ+

Key findings include: 

  • 75% will boycott firms that are seen to discriminate against sexuality
  • 78% Gen Z Believe Brands Are “All Talk, No Action” on LGBTQ+ Issues
  • 45% of Gen Z are anxious about their appearance - making it the top rated anxiety above career prospects, money and terrorism
  • More than half of GenZ will always check whether a brand reflects their values on body image before making a purchase

Timed to coincide with MAD//Fest London, the report is packed with insights, tips and case studies to ensure that brands play a positive role and avoid common pitfalls when speaking to Gen Z about sex.

"We decided to do this report because we’ve seen how many brands still don't know where to start when it comes to Gen Z and sex - but that confusion comes from having a blinkered perspective and asking the wrong questions", said Timothy Armoo, founder of Fanbytes by Brainlabs.

“Young people see straight through tired marketing ploys. They want something that really reflects how they see things. Do that on a subject as important as sex and self image, and you'll have them hooked,” he added.

Armoo will dig into the report findings in more detail in a MAD//Fest London session on 7 July. This year’s festival will see major brands, disruptors and agency heavyweight tackle 2022’s ‘No Guts, No Glory’ theme.

Other highlights include:

  • Burberry’s adventures in the metaverse with Global VP Innovation Rachel Waller
  • Sir Martin Sorrell’s disruption forecast
  • Legendary comedian David Baddiel’s view on what brands can do about toxic social media as Web 3.0 takes shape
  • Rory Sutherland’s masterclass on the art of taking calculated risks
  • Broadcaster and critic Jay Rayner and Rory Sutherland talk restaurants + what marketers can learn from them
  • Diageo Global CMO Cristina Diezhandino on using marketing to drive positive change