Creating Social Change With A Click

Teens OnlineIf you ever thought Millennials were lazy, think again! They’re globally connected, thanks to social media, and have more resources than ever to make a difference. It’s what “making a difference” actually means to these consumers that needs to be understood.

Digital natives are using technology as a tool to have their voices heard, and to inspire change. From creating online campaigns about causes they believe in to taking political action via social media, they’re shaping culture and proving their power as future leaders.

Gen Y grew up being praised and told that they could do anything. This confidence has its benefits in making them feel empowered and inspired to share their voice. Yes, they're less likely to write letters or organize in-person protests, but they’re changing the system for contemporary culture. A trend we’re seeing in teens is they’re drawing on the power of their peers online to make a larger impact.

Recently, 13-year-old McKenna Pope created a petition on Change.org, expressing her frustration that Easy-Bake oven isn’t marketed to males. She was upset about the message this sends to kids if the toy comes only in pink and purple and features only females on the packaging. In highlighting the importance of this issue, McKenna inspired 40,000 others, including celebrity chefs, to sign her petition. Ultimately, Hasbro invited her to its office and unveiled plans for a black-and-silver Easy-Bake oven, which will launch later this year. But McKenna isn’t alone. She represents a growing number of teens and twentysomethings who are using the Web, and social media in particular, as a platform for good.

Last year, three teens from New Jersey created two petitions on Change.org, asking for the Commission on Presidential Debates to select a female moderator…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

“I won’t buy an already-made costume to dress up in for Halloween because I prefer using my creativity to come up with an uncommon or personalized costume to wearing a mass-produced costume that won't be unique to me.” –Male, 24, CA

One entrepreneur has a big idea to change charity fundraising as we know it—and she’s only 10-years-old. Vivienne Harr started a lemonade stand for charity in 2012 that has turned into Make A Stand lemonade, a family company that donates 5% of each sale. Now, the Harrs are launching StandApp, a mobile platform for donating to and starting crowdfunded social good projects. Twitter’s founders have invested in the app, which tells users they can “make a stand and change the world in 3 steps and 30 seconds.” (Fast Company)

Vice media has established themselves as creators of online content that speaks to young consumers, and now they will launch a global, 24 hour TV network for their Millennial audience. The brand’s Vice News has gotten a reputation for tackling some of the biggest international stories before much more established news organizations, and CEO Shane Smith warned traditional media outlets that as the generation ages up, they will become obsolete, and sites like Vice and BuzzFeed are “the changing of the guard.” (The IndependentThe Drum)

Posting calories counts on menus isn’t necessarily making consumers choose healthier options, but a new study has found that if told what they would have to do to burn off those calories, teens are less likely to buy higher calorie or sugary drinks. When signs were posted in stores telling buyers things like, “Did you know that working off a bottle of soda or fruit juice takes about 5 miles of walking,” 40% of 12-18-year-olds who saw them said they changed their drink choice as a result. Even after the signs were removed these teens continued to make healthier choices. (Washington Post)

Italian clothing label Brandy Melville has reportedly become “one of the fastest growing popular brands among American teens,” but the company is not interested in selling to everyone: they sell most items only in size small. Abercrombie & Fitch has famously lost ground with young consumers thanks to their similarly exclusionary practices, and some teens are expressing their dissatisfaction on Melville’s Instagram, where they are asking for sizes that “fit all.” (Tech Times)

Many Millennials don’t trust banks (or any other large institutions) but it could be that financial organizations are missing a big opportunity with the generation. Adweek’s recent study found that 18-24-year-olds are more likely than other consumers to say they would trust a financial institution more if they provided helpful, unbiased content. But only 20% of respondents felt that these institutions are currently posting interesting articles. (Adweek)

That image at the bottom of our newsletter is a gateway to insights and expert commentary on current and future Millennial trends. Clicking on it takes readers to our daily insights article, available to Silver and Gold subscribers, which illuminates a facet of Millennial culture and helps subscribers to understand the "why" behind the "what." Drawing from our ongoing collection of proprietary data, our deep-dive desk research, and our 10-year history of studying this generation, we figure out what it all means for brands and marketers. (Ypulse)

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