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Millennials: the lost generation for Brands

Millennials: The lost generation for brands


A cover story in 'Time' magazine called them the 'Me, Me, Me Generation'. They have been branded lazy, entitled, unwilling to settle down and out for instant gratification and constant feedback. But as they get older and are taking more adult roles in life, markets need to see Millennials - the consumers who reached adulthood around the year 2000 - differently.

Kathy Troy, strategy director at planning agency MCCP, says Millennials have grown up and matured. But for some reason marketers lost interest in them, leaving them largely untapped by brands. In their new role as parents, the group - aka Generation Y - was shaped by growing up in a recession and adopting a new relationship with money. Millennials had a reputation as a cohort with less interest in possessions. For them, money meant access to more meaningful experiences. Many wanted their children to know they don't have to have 'things' to be happy. Gen Y was idealistic, with half buying gender-neutral toys for their kids. Girls should be just as much at home playing with a train set as a young lad would dressing a Barbie doll.

With fewer jobs when they graduated, Millennials suffered from a failure to launch and now they have less interest in ordered career paths. Their more entrepreneurial disposition allows them get income from their 'side-hustles', coining the terms 'mom-trepreneur' and 'mommy-blogger', Troy contends.

As a result, more Millennials are stay-at-home parents than their Gen X or Baby Boomer counterparts, indicating a contradictory mix of their high anxiety as a generation and their creative love of life. They claim many brands' social media posts make them feel like inadequate parents. They experience major anxiety about other parents judging what their children eat.

The thing is, brands aren't speaking to this generation because they aren't being authentic, Troy insists. Millennials, who were once so unconcerned about possessions and created the shared economy, are now mums and dads who go to the supermarket and must make choices.

They are looking for brands to be authentic and relevant, understanding their new life stage and responsibilities, but without treating them like they inherited the priorities and sensibilities of previous generations. Not many brands appreciate the nuance. But Millennials are brand loyal, provided they're treated right. Troy says it's time brand owners started getting serious about Millennials before they start chasing the younger model.

* Viddyad founder and ceo Grainne Barron has won the L'Oreal Women in Digital Award 2016 for her "technological innovation and vision". Viddyad provides a service which allows businesses to create, edit, publish and distribute video ads and branded content. Clients have access to video clips and images through Viddyad's tie-up with Getty Images.

 Dubliner Barron joins the ranks of past Women in Digital Winners such as Victoria Eisner, co-founder of Glamsquad and Kelsey Falter, founder and ceo of Poptip, which was acquired by Palantir in 2014 and who themselves later raised $2bn. Past Women in Digital winners generated over $300m in funding. Barron was one of three finalists invited to present at L'Oreal's Inspiration Day earlier this month in front of over 500 L'Oreal senior marketing executives. Barron, who previously won the Web Summit Spark of Genius award and the PWC Most Innovative Startup gong, will work with L'Oreal worldwide. eMarketer predicts digital ad spend will outperform TV ads in 2017 for the first time ever. 

* Television Audience Measurement (TAM) Ireland is hosting a morning conference on the future of TV in the Aviva Stadium on Friday, October 14. Entitled 'Switched On', the half day gathering will be chaired by Englishman Brian Jacobs, who has worked in advertising, media and research agencies for over 30 years. He co-authored 'Spending Advertising Money', with the late Dr Simon Broadbent, and 'Social Media Marketing'. Ian McShane, executive chairman, Behaviour & Attitudes, and Three mobile head of marketing Aislinn O'Connor will get proceedings under way on the theme 'TV Now', followed by viewer profiles and talks on how the business will progress from RTE head of insights Paul Loughrey and TAM chief executive Jill McGrath.

* Really like the new Irish Rail 'Go See the Folks' student campaign, created by Publicis. The work includes short films, out of home and digital ads. Everything was shot in one day and all post production was handled in-house by the agency. Photography was by Nick & Chloe through H2 Films. The ads poke fun at the perceived mischief and debauchery students get up to in college and the horror that the parents might catch them 'in the act'.

*As seen in the Irish Independent, 29th September 2016*

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