Lena Dunham Re-shapes the Meaning of Mainstream

Today's post comes from Ypulse General Manager Jake Katz.

Lena Dunham Re-shapes the Meaning of Mainstream

GirlsIn 2010, The New York Times published an article called “What Is It About 20-Somethings?” This identification of the “emerging adulthood” Millennial phenomenon serves as the creative seed from which HBO’s “Girls” has grown.

“Girls” has sparked as much discussion in the marketing/media community as it has among its viewers. Thematically, the show brings to life many Millennial concepts. In particular, the growing complexities of dating (it’s no coincidence an article titled "The End of Courtship?" ran the same week as “Girls’” premiere). Additionally, the show’s exploration of navigating one’s post-college path to success mirrors much of what our research here at Ypulse shows about how Millennials are realizing their dreams in a post-recession economy.

While much of the discussion around the show has been quick to point out its misses (a lack of diversity in the cast, arguably skin deep analyses of life from Dunham), stepping back and examining it from a few levels higher brings up a more important discussion. The media industry should quickly be decoding what it means for our perceptions, visions, and assumptions of “mainstream America”, that a show set in the most notoriously niche and infamously marketing trapdoor of Williamsburg is as relatable to 20-somethings as the more obvious “The Carrie Diaries.”

The elephant in the room has now been recognized. For every big brand that has learned to assess new ideas, talent, trends, and marketing through a lens of mainstream versus leading edge, could this be the moment we realize the gap between leading edge and mainstream has nearly dissolved? Maybe.

Let’s think about this for a moment. We know this generation of youth…

 
 
Ask Millennials some questions.
Log in to get started...

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “When I want relationship advice I usually check out good relationship blogs or online articles.” –Female, 32, TN

E-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular with teens, and one reason could be that it’s “ridiculously easy” for teens to get them. A new study asked minors to order e-cigarettes online from 98 different vendors, and 75 of those orders were successful. Of the 23 orders that failed, only five were due to age-verification issues, and in many cases if a website did not accept a minor’s age, teens were able to use their parents’ identities. Kids who have smoked e-cigs are reportedly twice as likely to say they intend to try regular cigarettes, so this ease of access could lead to a larger issue. (The Verge

Millennials are seeing food as the new status symbol and expecting everything on demand. Now a slew of startups areredefining food delivery to cater to their tastes. Gourmet food delivery service Munchery is a player in this trend, and has just expanded from San Francisco to New York City. Unlike services that deliver dishes from high-end eateries, Munchery provides a selection of over 300 pre-cooked meals prepared by Michelin-starred chefs, which are delivered cold and ready to be heated. There is a social good angle as well, as Munchery matches the cost of each order with a donation to City Harvest. (Forbes)

Young consumers have helped to make Scotch and whiskey cool again, and old-school brown spirits have become increasingly popular over the last decade. While the industry might have initially been ”perplexed” by the attention, it has seized the opportunity by targeting Millennial drinkers in new ways. The brand Balvenie is appealing to this new generation of Scotch drinkers by tapping Anthony Bourdain to host Raw Craft, a video series traveling around the country to showcase American craftsmanship. The Balvenie’s parent company has also released new brands, like Monkey Shoulder, that specifically target 20-somethings with lower prices and unpretentious branding. (Fast Company)

YouTube celebrities like PewDiePie’s Felix Kjellberg, Zoella, Alfie Deyes, and Jamal Edwards all made the list of the 500 most influential people in the country, and digital marketers could learn a few lessons from Generation YouTube. “Flawed is the new flawless,” thanks to digital celebs’ realness and transparency, and brands should embrace the authenticity of the medium. It’s also important to note that the stereotype of kids watching YouTube alone in their bedrooms is far from the truth: 90% of users are over 18-years-old, and 39% watch YouTube with their partner. (Marketing

Sonic is planning to play up their retro style drive-ins to appeal to young consumers' nostalgia, while also giving those drive-ins a technological makeover. Soon the fast food spots will feature touch-screen menus, which offer suggestions and internet access, along with the carhop service that has helped to set it apart from its competitors. The brand was slow to launch a digital and social presence, but is ramping up their efforts, including a series of digital only clips that show a significant departure from their traditional TV marketing. The opportunity for Sonic to attract younger consumers could be big, considering their customizable menu and unique experience-driven locations. (Digiday)

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)

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies