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 unplugged from Facebook and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It is such a time suck. I have other online sites that I can browse to relieve stress or take a break from work without having to see what some random kid in high school is eating for breakfast.” —Female, 23, PA

Last summer we noted Motorola’s vision of tattoos as password and identity authentication in our spotlight on the future of passwords, and now the first iteration has hit the market. Motorola teamed up with VivaLnk to create temporary tattoos—circuits wrapped in adhesive—that can unlock the Motorola X phone with a simple scan. Though the wearability is impressive, lasting up to five days on skin even through exercise or being submerged in water, remember that wearable tech must be beautiful, and the copper swirled fingerprint has ended up “looking a bit like a mole.” (TechCrunch)

Reebok and…bacon? Though health and fitness might not be synonymous with salted meat, Reebok is celebrating its athletes in the 2014 Reebok Crossfit Games with a Paleo diet-friendly treat. Targeting the “tastebuds of the Crossfit community,” Reebok’s pork product is free of nitrates, preservatives, MSG, and sweeteners, and will be delivered to attendees in boxes or via a branded food truck. Audience members can follow the truck on social media with the hashtag #reebokbacon to catch prizes and special bacon menu items rolled out throughout the games. (Creativity OnlineFast Co. Create)

Having grown up in the age of internet piracy and file sharing, many Millennials treat music and photo copyrights as flexible, downloading and swiping various content to share on social media. But using copyrighted music in videos shared with over 6.7 million fans has caused trouble for Michelle Phan, the makeup tutorial YouTube star who is now being sued by Ultra Records. Ultra owns rights to music from a slew of EDM artists that Phan has used in her tutorials, but some artists are tweeting out in support of her and challenging copyright laws to modernize. (Adweek)

Campbell's hit a peak in popularity with the Boomer generation, but instead of reviving the soup brand for Millennials in their 20s and 30s, Campbell's is looking to create an entirely new snack line for the kids of Millennial parents. The company will expand its Bolthouse Farms brand into Bolthouse Kids and tap into the tremendous growth of fresh-packaged snacks made for the on-the-go lifestyle of Millennial moms. Fruits, veggies, ready-made smoothies, and even Greek yogurt are in the works for hungry Plurals. (WSJ)

We identified Next Level Fandoms and Pre-Dev Engagement as two major Millennial trends in our Q3 2013 Quarterly Report, and Hasbro has joined these forces together for its SuperFanArt project. Dedicated fans can design and buy 3D printed figurines inspired by their favorite Hasbro brands, the first being My Little Pony. Encouraging the “mini-creator mindset” opens the door for pre-dev engagement and could create excitement around new Hasbro products and custom toys. (Kidscreen)

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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