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The sea of tents outside St Paul's Cathedral, and the incumbent anti-capitalist protesters, has stolen this month's headlines. The 'Occupy' protests have been a truly global phenomenon with demonstrations all over the Western World, into Africa and Asia. As with the Arab Spring, online channels are being touted as the mechanism for the spread of the remonstration. Without the growth of internet communication and online enthusiasts, the promotion and coordination of these events on such a scale would have been practically impossible. Furthermore we can assume that those people attending 'Occupy' protests must form a part of the online political discussion just by their being there.
Insight from Kantar Media's TGI reveals that in the UK, these disenfranchised internet activists are a far cry from the 'swampy' stereotype. Two thirds of the two and a quarter million adults who have commented on public affairs or politics during the last 12 months in the online sphere are aged 15-44. These commentators, rather than being socially and economically disadvantaged, are well off. Compared with other 15-44 year olds, they are a fifth more likely to be in the AB social grade and nearly 60% more likely to enjoy a family income over £50000. They are also 56% more likely to be university educated.
Those who comment on politics online are high-minded and conscientious. According to TGI, they are 85% more likely than other 15-44 year olds to only buy products from a company with whose ethics they agree. They are as likely to avoid major high street chains. They are prone to thoroughly researching products and are four-fifths more likely to pay attention to where the food they have bought is grown.
It is, however, the pampered lifestyles of some of these young idealists that make them a lucrative prospect for marketers. They are 37% more likely than other young adults 15-44 to have expensive tastes. Online political commentators are 22% more likely to pay extra for premium goods and services or to try a new brand if they see it. While they will pay more for organic or environmentally friendly goods, they will also spend on goods that make life easier. This group is 57% more likely than others their age to be a heavy Champagne drinker - no surprise for those familiar with the moniker "Champagne Socialist."
What's more, some of those bemoaning the capitalist system, outside St Paul's, may also show a tendency towards entrepreneurship - the very foundation of capitalism. 15-44 year olds engaging in political debate online are a quarter more likely than their contemporaries to want to set up their own business. They like taking risks too.
TGI insight further demonstrates how to reach these individuals outside of the internet. Young, tech-savvy political commentators are nearly two-thirds more likely than other 15-44 year olds to be amongst the heaviest fifth of cinema goers. They are nearly three times as likely to be a Guardian reader while being twice as likely to read The Times.
So for marketers, this politically-motivated segment is easily targetable online, in the cinema and in broadsheet newspapers. They are willing to pay more for goods that tickle their ideological taste buds, and are certainly no strangers to luxury. Capitalism isn't working - well it is for somebody.