Whether we call them Generation Y, Generation “C” (for Connected) or Millennials, there’s no doubt that Americans ages 13-34 hold tremendous potential for marketers. But advertisers should take care when reaching out to these consumers. New research from Nielsen shows that males and females in this age demographic are drawn to very different types of TV ads.

While both younger men and women connect with characters that they view as similar to themselves, guys identify with other “normal” guys placed in extreme or exaggerated situations. Women relate to a more aspirational approach, connecting with happy situations that feature characters who allow a woman to imagine herself in their shoes.

Humor, an established characteristic of highly memorable ads, is an element that requires a different approach based on the audience’s gender. Slapstick, edgy and sarcastic humor resonates highly with men.  Silly, off-beat humor that’s not mean-spirited tickles the funny bones of young women.

Guys and girls identify differently with tone and theme. Imagery of strong, female celebrities in fun, high-energy situations fosters emotional connection with women. Men tend to be more action-oriented, and competitive scenes and extreme images are visuals to which the average young man responds.

Not only are men and women different on the basis of what resonates with them in advertisements, but their consumption habits vary as well.  According to the latest Cross-Platform Report, women ages 18-49 watch roughly 11 more hours of traditional TV per month than their male counterparts.

“Don’t ignore gender and the nuances; use them to your advantage,” says Joe Stagaman, EVP, Advertising Effectiveness Analytics for Nielsen. “Recognizing different perspectives based on gender offers marketers opportunities to create ads with clever, unique approaches.”