Growing Up In A Fast Food Nation

mcpretendingIn the latest Ypulse Monitor and Ypulse Report (see full summaries in our Research Roundup) we saw the enduring pull of young, hungry students to fast food joints, specifically those of the burger variety. Cheap, reliable and probably just off campus,  our research found nearly all (nine-out-of-10) college students and teens had gone to restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King, or Wendy’s in the past month, at a frequency of about four times a month/once a week. McDonald’s also came up as the #1 option for lunch, dinner, snacking (and increasingly even coffee!) spot for both demos. For all of the reasons stated above (price, reliability location), this trend isn’t a surprising one, but with rates of childhood and teen obesity staying at epidemic levels especially among low-income youth, it does raise some health concerns.

While “Happy Meals” and the like have undergone a healthful makeover as of late (apple “fries” instead of fries, milk instead of soda, etc.) for tweens/concerned parents, and older consumers are targeted with the contradiction in terms that is the “fast food diet,” teens and young adults get lost somewhere in between, lured instead by what’s tasty and cheap, i.e. the dollar menu-type items. While two out of three teens and college students reported going to the potentially healthier, sandwich shop chains like Subway or Quizno’s over the same period of time, the wide range of choices available still include poor picks like Quizno’s Tuna Melt, rated the number one unhealthiest sandwich of 2009. I also recalled a negative responses to the price difference of sandwich shops at the youth-hosted forum on childhood obesity I attended back in September and the “no duh” look students gave when considering the choice between a “$5 Footlong” and the wide variety of cheaper…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “If I played the lottery tomorrow and won $100,000,000 I would save most of it, donate some of it. And I'd buy my dad a boat, because I promised I'd buy him one if I was ever a millionaire.” –Female, 15, WA

This week, celebrity Photoshopping was debated online when fans criticized Beyoncé for posting an Instagram picture that looked altered to make her look slimmer. The star (and others) have been accused of using Photoshop or other image-fixing apps on social media photos before, a practice that many feel contributes to young female fans’ body issues, and does not align with the imperfection embracing and authenticity that so many young consumers expect. (BuzzFeed)

The Cartoon Network has launched an anti-bullying campaign called “I Speak Up” to encourage kids who have been bullied to reach out to trusted adults. Viewers are being encouraged to submit videos (with the permission of their parent or guardian) to share the anti-bullying message, and some of those videos will be featured in the campaign online and on TV. Visitors to the Speak Up website can also take a pledge to stop bullying, and earn special badges while playing Cartoon Network games. (PR Newser)

Young consumers are screen multitaskers, and second screen use while watching TV is a norm—but it’s not always clear to brands how they should engage in that behavior, and just throwing a hashtag on the screen isn’t going to cut it. Now Twitter says that studios and networks that live-tweet their popular programming (post and respond to viewers while the show is happening) can “dramatically boost followers and Twitter mentions” and even bump up TV ratings. (Recode)

YouTube is coming to the big screen. The digital comedy duo who create SMOSH, a channel with 30 million subscribers, has created a movie that will be distributed by Lionsgate. The movie is being described as a “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventurefor 2014” and will star a slew of other YouTube stars. The news is another example of traditional media embracing YouTube to entice young consumers, and the mainstreaming of the site’s stars. (Fast Company)

New research has found that across all grade levels and subjects, girls get better grades than male students—around the globe. The results have caused some to wonder if schools are “set up to favor the way girls learn and trip up boys.” Male students might be less able to self-discipline themselves, a key ingredient to doing well in classes, which means that the way education is structured plays into their weaknesses. (The Atlantic

Have some lingering questions about Millennials that you need answered for an upcoming meeting? That’s what Ypulse is here for. Silver and Gold subscribers have access to Ypulse's trend and Millennial experts for quick, personalized feedback on any topic. After each insights article, subscribers can submit questions and requests directly to our experts and receive instant responses. (Ypulse)

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