Gen Z: The IRL Opportunity

A Foresight Report for JCDecaux

sector - media & technology
type - case studies
Case Studies
JCDecaux commissioned The Future Laboratory to produce a new foresight report, to decipher Gen Z’s code and investigate how this generation are altering the demographic landscape of Australia and beyond.

Gen Z are true digital natives. Born into the age of the internet, they grew up with social media, fast technology and mobile devices. Far more complex than their unusual choice of everyday words, they are a burgeoning and discerning economic power. Expected to account for 27% of the global workforce by 2025, according to Zurich Insurance, they are shifting the political landscape with their votes and making critical buying decisions as they enter adulthood.

More importantly, their collective voice is one that demands to be heard. Gen Z have the power to influence other generations, and transform industries, cultures and societies. They are redefining communities, tearing down barriers between real and virtual realms.

Following the pandemic, the resurgence of dwelling in public places further underlines the significance of Out-of-Home advertising to capture this demographic. Gen Z are elusive to other traditional broadcast mediums, and exist in constantly shifting senses of identity, communities and spaces. Out-of-Home can ignite their creative minds, while simultaneously delivering experiences and narratives that are genuine, relevant, communal and immersive.

Gen Z in Australia describe Out-of-Home as immersive (38%), community-building (34%), experience-making (30%) and memorable (42%).

In this report, with expert interviews, quantitative research and an exhaustive review of relevant material, The Future Laboratory have collaborated with JCDecaux to provide deeper insight into this generation and offer insight on how the power of Out-of-Home can be utilised to drive engagement and brand advocacy.

Click below to discover the resulting 'Gen Z: The IRL Opportunity' report.


Commissioned by:

14 June 2023

Author: The Future Laboratory


: Overview

Photography from Unsplash

Generation Z are culturally dominating, monetarily strong, and influential across generations and sectors.

The rebellious demographic are rejecting online-only identities to speak up in all cultural venues. Out-of-Home is becoming a distinct Gen Z touchpoint in a digital environment.

With Gen Z becoming more important in brand spaces across all media, advertisers must adapt and embrace new frameworks to satisfy their distinct goals, match their values and find new ways to engage them.

‘Gen Z customers are sophisticated, discriminating and continuously pushing businesses to take action and provide genuine social change,’ says Essie Wake, chief marketing officer at JCDecaux Australia and New Zealand. ‘Growing up online, they recognise the risks of digital participation and are now seeking a step change as they seek and embrace real-world encounters.’

‘In the age of digital burnout, the 24-hour news cycle and brand data harvesting, the relative independence and control provided by Out-of-Home is being welcomed by this generation en masse.’ 

Martin Raymond, co-founder, The Future Laboratory

: Decoding Gen Z

Gen Z’s ideals and attitudes may seem conflicting. But having grown up at a time of technological acceleration, progressive identity politics, ecological disaster, social inequity and political polarisation – so is the society they inherited.

As Gen Z step up to change society, culture and industries for themselves and others, we examine the social, economic and cultural developments shaping their needs and standards in Australia and worldwide, including:

: ID 3.0
Gen Z prefer self-definition over identity check boxes – generating and expressing numerous ‘selves’ as identity boundaries dissolve.

: Reformation Generation
Gen Z are intensely aware that the institutions around them are unfit due to political polarisation, climate catastrophe and social inequality.
They want a complete social reset in response.

: IRL meets URL
Gen Z are the first generation to realise their wants can be serviced online, offline and everywhere in between. Their identities, needs, activities and beliefs are borderless, creating new expectations for how and where companies connect with people.

Discover our Reformation Generation macrotrend, exploring how marking a new era of collaboration between brands and Generation Z, opportunities are arising to re-assemble, decentralise and decolonise our outdated societal systems.

‘Gen Z no longer perceive their online personas as an alter-ego or something clandestine, but rather as an overlap or extension of who they are.’
Mark McCrindle, futurist, demographer and social analyst

: Engaging Gen Z In Real Life (IRL)

Photography from Unsplash

We have found five key themes at the centre of the Out-of-Home opportunity. We investigate the future trends that will characterise this new IRL frontier, giving advertisers a framework to increase engagement, encourage equality and unite communities. These include:

: Viewtility

Future-facing ads are following Gen Z’s collectivism to re-imagine community and placemaking. Next-generation brand interaction will go beyond consumer experience and make public screens communal platforms. Enter Viewtility.

: Egoless Marketing

To remain relevant, Gen Z brands must prioritise authenticity and purpose. After a recent wave of purpose-washing, Out-of-Home offers marketers a new platform to promote significant issues and community needs authentically.

: Paradox Personas

Growing up juggling myriad digital and IRL identities, Gen Z’s beliefs, expectations and desired experiences reflect this constant change. Here, digital Out-of-Home can appeal – providing online ease and personalisation to Gen Z’s physical environment.

This is just a snapshot of the Gen Z: The IRL Opportunity report. Click below to download the full report PDF.

‘Gen Z aren’t used to being passive customers. Even online, their experiences are centred on interaction and interplay, both with brands and with each other.’
Mark McCrindle, futurist, demographer and social commentator

Are you ready for what’s new and next?

To learn more from about the trends in Gen Z: The IRL Opportunity report, download it here. 

If you are interested in finding out more about our foresight reports that combine quantitative and qualitative research with original case studies and innovations to achieve your business objectives, click here.

For more about our client reports and case studies, get in touch with a member of our team.


Download the report:

Scroll Down Arrow