Winners at the 2019 Sunday Times Generation Next Awards. Picture: SUPPLIED
Winners at the 2019 Sunday Times Generation Next Awards. Picture: SUPPLIED

Nike was once again awarded the Uber Cool Overall winner at the 15th Sunday Times Gen Next Awards, held in Sandton. It is the fifth year in succession that Nike has maintained the top spot in the survey, which was conducted by HDI Youth Consultancy. The company polls more than 7,000 SA young people between the ages of 8 and 23 about what they find on-trend and aspirational.

Nike was also awarded Coolest Clothing Brand and the Coolest Footwear Brand prizes, and continues to hold the top spot in the Coolest Brand Slogan category.

Reardon Sanderson, GM group sales & marketing at Tiso Blackstar Group, says: “The Sunday Times Gen Next survey is considered the leading barometer of youth sentiment in SA. Organisations are increasingly guided by the results to drive their youth marketing strategies forward. As a result, we’ve realised the need to extend the scope of the survey. A number of new categories were included in 2019 with the intention of increasing insights for marketers.”

Fourteen new categories were introduced this year, including Coolest Online Fashion Store (Superbalist), Coolest Campaign Targeted at Youth (loveLife), Coolest Food Delivery App (Mr D Food), Coolest Entertainment Channel (Cartoon Network DStv 301), Coolest Gaming Console (PlayStation 4 Pro), along with two personal brand categories: Coolest Politician (Nelson Mandela – current president Cyril Ramaphosa was placed second), and Coolest Online Influencer (Bonang Matheba).

Brands that maintained their No 1 position in 2019 are: FNB, Samsung, Mr Price, SAA, Colgate, Protea Hotels, Mall of Africa, Vodacom, KOO, Mercedes-Benz, CNA, Engen, Sun City, Fifa, Magnum, Trace Urban (DStv 325), Cartoon Network (DStv 301), YouTube, Metro FM, Top Gear, McDonald’s, Spur, Doritos, Coca-Cola, University of Cape Town, Pin Pop, Stimorol, Playgirl, Always, Dis-Chem, Avon, WhatsApp, Dove, Dark & Lovely, Nutella, Nivea, Rosebank College, Parmalat, Toys R Us and the Sunday Times.

Fifteen of the 76 categories had different winners from 2018.

Trevor Noah (Coolest Local Male Celebrity) and DJ Black Coffee (Coolest Local DJ) remain perennial favourites. However, fresh celebrity winners in 2019 include: Thuso Phala (Coolest Local Sportsperson), and Lady Zamar (Coolest Local Female Celebrity). The Queen was awarded the Coolest Local TV Soap prize.

Bongani Chinkanda, CEO of HDI Youth Consultancy, says: “This is our fifteenth year of being in Gen Next, and HDI is excited by the new categories and the way the market is responding. The categories that excite us most include the Gaming Console/Computer Games category; despite the global rise of Fortnite, Fifa remains one of the most popular games in the eyes of SA’s youth. What we also found interesting was that when the youth were prompted to name their Coolest Online Store, the one that came out tops was Superbalist, while the rest seemed to be normal brick-and-mortar retailers.

The Sunday Times Gen Next Awards poll SA youth about what they find on-trend and aspirational.

“It’s similarly exciting to see that YouTube was voted as the Coolest Music Platform. It’s going to be interesting to watch how YouTube relates to platforms like MTV and Trace in the future. As we move forward and the new categories become more refined and defined, they’ll definitely become more compelling and insightful too.”

The polling results and analyses across all categories will be published in a supplement accompanying the Sunday Times edition on Youth Day, June 16.

Sunday Times Gen Next is presented in association with HDI Youth Consultancy, and partners Brand SA and Gautrain.