First Faculty Advisor
Genration Y; Energy Drinks
In the past, numerous studies have been completed comparing brand image to product performance. In these studies it has been shown that brand image does have an effect on preferences and observers evaluate product performance differently when brand image is part of the equation. However, Generation Y is often cited as being skeptical of advertising, because they have been bombarded with media their entire lives. Therefore, this study examined a product targeted towards Generation Y, energy drinks, and compared stated brand preferences to actual product performance. The sample was 68 college students from Bryant University varying in age from 18 to 23 years old. In the study, participants were asked to complete an online survey about energy drinks and within the survey they were asked to rank five energy drinks (Red Bull, Monster, Full Throttle, Amp, and Rockstar) in order from favorite to least favorite. Several days later, the participants then came to the Applied Psychology Research Center on campus and participated in a blind taste test where they again ranked the energy drinks favorite to least favorite.
Results showed that Generation Y is not immune to advertising. In the survey, Red Bull was clearly the most preferred brand with 47% of respondents selecting it as their favorite. In the blind taste tests, Monster was most preferred with 28% of respondents choosing it as their favorite. When comparing favorites using mean ranks, Red Bull was also most preferred in stated preferences (mean rank = 2.2) and Amp was most preferred in taste tests (mean rank = 2.7). Thus, Generation Y may be more skeptical about advertising, but they are still influenced by marketing efforts as shown by the discrepancy between stated preferences and the taste test preferences. These results provide important information for marketers because they show that advertising dollars aimed at Generation Y are effective.