The Serious Faux Pas: Celebrities

This week, we’re delving into a cultural shift we’re calling The Serious Faux Pas: the tendency of Millennials to reject those who aren’t able, or willing, to make their flaws a part of their public persona; the modern misstep of celebrities, athletes, and brands who take themselves too seriously; and how idolizing perfect icons has become a thing of the past.

Because Millennials have grown up in the age of tabloid culture and the 24-hour news cycle, they are a generation with a heightened awareness of flaws, moments of weakness, and the fact that any public figure potentially has a scandal looming around the corner. They have begun rejecting any attempted “public displays of perfection” as inauthentic. Those individuals who take themselves too seriously, carefully guarding their “realness” behind a mask of flawlessness, may be doomed to be mocked and un-liked, while Millennials embrace self-effacing and imperfect personalities.

Perhaps the clearest example of the rejection of serious can be seen in current celebrity culture, where actresses, actors and musicians are no longer idolized for being faultless, but instead looked down on if they appear too calculated or unable to exude a “down-to-earth” personality. In this category, taking yourself too seriously comes in the form of not allowing the world to see you off-balance and spontaneously imperfect.

This year, a takedown of too-earnest actress Anne Hathaway has played out online in contrast to the complete adoration of self-effacing Jennifer Lawrence. In February, NYMag published an article entitled “Why Do Women Hate Anne Hathaway (But Love Jennifer Lawrence),” citing Lawrence’s frequent mentions of taking shots, eating junk food, and wearing Spanx on the red carpet as part of her appeal. Hathaway on the other hand, was said…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I use cloth diapers, and a lot of my coworkers don't quite understand this. They aren't condescending, per say, but I do think that they judge my less mainstream parenting style. Also, several of my online mommy Facebook groups can be VERY judgy.” –Female, 26, IL

‘90s kids (older Millennials) remember many products from the decade that have now sadly passed out of their lives. But some of their undying nostalgia is being rewarded: Coca Cola has brought back their lemon lime flavored soda Surge thanks in part to a Facebook group called “The Surge Movement.” The soda is being sold exclusively through Amazon, and the first batch sold out in about an hour. (The Verge)

GIFs are invading marketing, and the medium is now seeping into mobile communication. Popkey is essentially a GIF keyboard for the new Apple operating system. The app allows users to search for appropriate reaction GIFs without leaving their chats, save frequently used GIFs, or select from popular featured files. The tool could appeal to young consumers who are more interested in communicating via images than text. (TechCrunch)

Millennials’ reputation for not caring about cars might not be the whole story, and we’ve heard that having a car actually is important to them—if brands can create cars they want. Toyota is imagining what that car would look like with their concept the U^2, a “city car” for Millennials, or in their words, the “entrepreneurial, urban driver.” The imagined car is customizable, with a removable front seat, an iPad central console, and a tailgate that can turn into a ramp. Though Toyota isn’t likely to produce the U^2, it is possible that some of its features will be integrated into upcoming models. (Wired)

Despite the fact that the platform is technically ad-free, brands have infiltrated Vine, and its “Vine famous” stars now regularly team with companies for creative advertising. The young social media savvy players—each with millions of followers—are also becoming involved in more traditional media: Brittany Furlan has landed a sketch comedy show deal, Nash Grier is working on a film career, and Shawn Mendes’ record topped the iTunes charts. (Adweek)

Financial services are not appealing to Millennials, and the disconnect between the industry and the generation isn’t likely to be solved by reaching out to these young consumers on the platforms they frequent. A recent global study found that less than 1% of Millennials want financial service providers to contact them through social media, and 59% believe they haven’t seen financial products that are targeted at “people like them.” (CNN)

Looking for a quick Millennial stat to get you up to speed before a strategy session? Searching Ypulse is the best place to start! Silver and Gold members have access to 10,000+ articles, 20,000+ curated Millennial news items, 2 billion peer-generated opinions from our mobile, social Q&A network, and thousands of statistics on Millennials drawn from our bi-weekly national survey of the generation. Your search can begin and end with us. (Ypulse)

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