Virgin Mobile, which targets young, hip cell users, has launched a major new Canadian initiative to both gauge the mood of connected young Canadians and give them a place to air their frustration with the current economy.

The Mood Meter is an easy-reference device, like the forest fire alert at the entrance to camping areas, indicating how young consumers see their financial situation. Readings range from Green (‘The Recession Ain’t Getting Me Down’) to Red (‘Everything Sucks Huge’). The initial Yellow reading, based on recent Virgin polling, is chartacterised as, ‘Sorta Freaking Out Right Now’.

Among the key findings of the poll:

  • 72 per cent of young Canadians surveyed between the ages of 17 and 35 are worried about their future.
  • 88 per cent have already changed their shopping habits to save money.
  • 52 per cent are open to trying ‘value’ brands.
  • 57 per cent don’t believe a change in government would change anything.
  • 82 per cent believe the current economic problems were caused by ‘greed’.
  • 76 per cent are skeptical about the ethics of many major corporations.

Virgin will repeat the survey at regular intervals, building an economic trends database on Canadian youth.

Virgin launched its new youth connection initiative with the unveiling of a huge new billboard at Yonge/Dundas Square in downtown Toronto earlier this week, featuring the slogan, ‘Screw You Recession!” and the launch of a new Web site’.

The Web site will feature tips, news and money-saving ideas to beat the recession, written by and for young people, plus budget calculators, e-coupons and more. In the coming weeks, the Web site will feature guest bloggers, interviews with financially-savvy types such as Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson.

And — of course — there will be a Facebook page.

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