At this point, the mere mention of Millennials usually leads to eye rolls, harrumphing, and worn-out jokes about avocado toast, which, in addition to being overdone, totally underestimates both this game-changing age group and the time-tested appeal of the alligator pear on sourdough.
Luckily, Gen Y is wielding their influence for good. Accenture’s holiday shopping survey revealed that Millennials are more likely to buy from brands that demonstrate inclusion and diversity, which means brands must respond accordingly.
And brands have, for the most part, which allows an authentic rainbow of ages, races, genders, and abilities to break through:
- Microsoft recently released a holiday commercial featuring the Xbox Adaptive Controller. The story of Owen, a disabled child, using it to crush a high score is a heartwarming celebration of kids being kids.
- After searching their archives (and souls), The New York Times realized the overwhelming majority of their obituaries paid tribute to white men. And they’re making amends with a series called “Overlooked,” which will profile mostly women, especially women of color, to give them their deserved due.
- And earlier this year, Coke’s Super Bowl ad emphasized there’s “A Coke For Everyone” with the spot “The Wonder of Us.” It showcases people of all backgrounds with some pretty moving narration, so you can see, hear, and feel the power behind the message.
When brands don’t follow through, consumers don’t show up. Cue the Halsey-scored Victoria’s Secret fashion show. The seasonal special made history when Winnie Harlow, a model with vitiligo (an autoimmune disorder that causes depigmentation of the skin) walked the runway. Which was great. But the show came under fire for a general lack of diversity and controversial comments from CMO Ed Razek that very narrowly defined who represents a “fantasy.” Between the bad takes and the utter same-ness of the cast, the show fell to its lowest ratings ever.
Lesson learned: evolve or risk irrelevancy. (AKA, listen to that little Millennial voice inside your head.)
Have a wonderful weekend, everybody!
-Your avocado-toast-appreciating friends at Brokaw