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…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “My dream for the future is complete financial independence from parents and any others, and a very satisfying career that I enjoy (a high salary would be a plus, but not essential).” –Male, 25, PA

The pickup game could become a thing of the past. According to ESPN, playground basketball as we’ve known it is dying. Crime has pushed many urban kids off of outdoor sports spaces to indoor courts that can be controlled. Meanwhile, high school players who want a future in the sport are turning to organized leagues like the Amateur Athletic Union over yard games where “street cred” ruled over building skills to showcase for schools. (ESPN)

Let wants to be the “ultimate, coolest” social network for teens. The app was built on the concept that “Facebook is not for teenagers anymore” and that they are looking for a more positive, gamified experience. Let creates leaderboards to show the members who have amassed the most stars, the equivalent of a Like, and has recently gained members—reportedly doubling in size every two weeks—thanks to YouTube stars like Jake Boys joining and “bringing their followings with them.” (TechCrunch)

Are Millennial marriages in beta? A lot has been said about the generation’s delayed walk down the aisle and their rearrangement of traditional adult milestones. Now, a new study has found that even after they’ve walked down the aisle it might just be to test the waters: 43% of Millennials “would support a marriage model that involved a two-year trial,” and 33% would be open to licenses that require the “terms” to be renegotiated after a certain amount of time.  (Time)

Young consumers have made music streaming their clear preference, and it is currently the only area in the recorded music industry experiencing growth. Apps like Spotify, Pandora, and iHeart Radio are competing for their attention, and their loyalty. But an epic streaming battle could be about to begin: tech titans like Apple, Google, and Amazon are acquiring their own streaming tools in order to control the future of the music market. (Quartz)

Some are dubious as to whether social apps can create real media stars, but it can’t be denied that for young artists today the path to fame has diversified, and online followings can impact careers. Case in point: 15-year-old Vine star Shawn Mendes’ self-titled EP hit No. 1 on iTunes only 37 minutes after its release, thanks in part to his 2.9 million followers spreading a #ShawnToNumber1 hashtag. (Mashable)

Quote of the Day: “My dream for the future is to become an entrepreneur so I can become my own boss. I also want to become successful to help other people who are in need.” – Female, 23, CA

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