Scandal in the Age of Acceptance

This Monday, we took a look at how Millennial attitudes are shifting their views on just what can be deemed scandalous in The End Of Scandal As We Know It. We also told you that though they may be changing, scandals will not become extinct and that new issues that matter to Millennials will rise up to take the place of the traditionally taboo public behaviors. For this generation, scandals will be made up of those things that Millennials find socially unpalatable, like corporate discrimination and cover-ups. In this world, there is such a thing as bad PR — because while Millennials are quick to forgive personal missteps and brand product and marketing failures, publicly aired opinions that don’t fit into their worldview are scandal igniters. Here’s a look at some recent scandals that signify the shift:

 

1. A&F’s “Cool Kids” Comments

Abercrombie & Fitch has had a serious branding problem and PR scandal on their hands since comments that CEO Mike Jeffries made that the youth retailer does not produce plus-sized clothing because they “go after the cool kids” were publicized earlier this month. The comments incited a wave of anger and reactions from consumers online and off. Interestingly, the interview in which these comments were made is seven years old, a fact that is significant in a few ways. First, the public perception of what brands are responsible for, how they should act, and the plus-sized clothing acceptance movement has changed significantly in that time. Second, Millennials have aged up and become more economically and culturally influential since 2007. Finally, the internet means that everything a brand puts out into the public can affect their reputation—even if years have past since the gaffe. Millennials, a generation that has been taught that acceptance is the…

 
 
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Quote of the Day: “When looking for a significant other, it’s important to me that they are open minded and an independent thinker.” –Male, 15, CA

Constant internet access via smartphones helped created the issue of cyberbullying, but could it also help to end it? New app Stop!t was created by a concerned dad to make it quick, easy, and effective for kids to anonymously report any bullying incident they see on social media. Previous digital efforts to fight cyberbullying required multiple steps in order to file a report, but Stop!t will allow students to report bullying with a single click, even if the app isn’t open. The app has been tested in several schools, and seen positive results so far, with one school reporting an 80% reduction in cyberbullying incidents compared to the previous year. (Fast Company)

Snapchat has an important message for its young users: “keep your clothes on!” 53% of 13-17-year-olds use Snapchat, according to Ypulse’s most recent social media tracker survey, and the app has long battled a reputation as a sexting haven. New community guidelines recently posted by the app are serving as a gentle, but stern reminder for minors to “Keep it legal.” Team Snapchat is trying to pull in the reigns on inappropriate sharing, threats, bullying, and invasions of privacy, and violating the rules could result in content removal, suspension, or being banned from the app. (New York Daily NewsSnapchat)

Will marketing healthy foods using the same tactics as unhealthy products get young consumers to eat them? The Partnership for a Healthier American and Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign are going to find out. They’re launching an effort that rebrands fruits and vegetables as “FNV,” uses celebrities like Jessica Alba and Cam Newton as spokespeople, and relies heavily on social media to convince kids that healthy is cool. While undoubtedly a worthy cause, the campaign’s success is uncertain and has been described as “cringeworthy.” (brandchannel)

"C’mon get happy" seems to be the motto of big brands in 2015, as they focus on messages of positivity and joy to appeal to young consumers. One recent study says brands that “help Millennials achieve happiness” are the most likely to earn their loyalty. McDonald’s Pay With Lovin’, Coke’s #MakeItHappy, and Dove’s #SpeakBeautiful campaigns are recent examples of campaigns attempting to engage with positive messaging, but brands who want to follow suit should remember young consumers will see through any “hollow” attempts that tell them just buying a product will make them happier. (Adweek)

Young viewers maybe be drawn to digital video because they find online stars and content more “enjoyable and relevant to their lives” than traditional TV and Hollywood A-listers. A new study by Defy Media—who it should be noted produces content for YouTube—found that 62% of 13-24-year-olds say digital content makes them “feel good,” compared to 40% who said the same of TV; and 67% say they can relate to digital content, versus only 41% who relate to TV. YouTubers also hold a high power of purchase: 63% said they’d try a product recommended by a YouTube celebrity. (Variety)

The Daily Instant Poll gives you a quick snapshot of how Millennials are weighing in on the topics that are making headlines, but there's more to our mobile network of 2 million Millennials than what makes the newsletter. Ten of our most recent featured Instant Poll results are available to Ypulse.com Silver and Gold subscribers, allowing them to compare the responses of various demographics. (Ypulse)

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