The Serious Faux Pas: Athletes

In today’s segment of our Serious Faux Pas series, we’re looking at the modern misstep of athletes who take themselves too seriously and how the age of the hyped up self-aggrandizing sports icon has ended.
 

Growing up, Xers (and older Millennials) had a transcendent sports icon to look up to: the great and powerful Michael Jordan. Jordan gave rise to the idea of the icon athlete as an endorser, and even recently was called “the endorsement king of all ages” by Forbes. Almost all of his endorsements celebrated his prowess as an athlete. At the height of his stardom, kids across America were inundated with the call to “be like Mike” thanks to his Gatorade commercials. He was someone to aspire to become, but always maintained a safe distance from his fans and teammates—an untouchable hero. ESPN has called him “the archetype of the hero athlete and the living embodiment of success.” Jordan took himself seriously, was not humble, and didn’t mind coming off as arrogant and self-aggrandizing. In his Hall of Fame induction speech, he infamously ran through a list of all the individuals who had not believed in him or held him back in some way by name to emphasize how much he had succeeded despite them. 

But a serious shift has occurred since the age of Jordan and the athlete hero-on-a-pedestal. Millennials aren’t looking for hero athletes, but athletes who can joke, banter, and create irreverent material— even at their own expense. Sports stars today who commit the Serious Faux Pas risk having their fan bases turn on them. That lesson was exemplified in the aftermath of the publicity circus surrounding LeBron James' decision to join the Miami Heat. After he and his marketing team created a television special to announce "The Decision," fans vilified him, and it has taken years to rebuild his…

 
 
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: Q: “Why haven’t you had children yet?” A: “I’m gay. So having a child is a big decision.” –Male, 22, CA

Back to school shopping is moving slower than usual this year, but that’s not the only shift that retailers need to contend with. We outlined the top five categories for spending among high school and college students this season, and tech is in the number one slot for college students and a close second for high schoolers. Increasingly, getting the latest headphones or mobile tech is just more important to young consumers than getting the latest fashions. As one teen told the Times, “It’s definitely more exciting for a lot of teenagers to have a new phone that can do lots of cool stuff than clothing.” (NYTimes)

When Millennials are shopping, more and more prefer to pay with plastic, with debit cards as their main payment of choice. A recent survey by CreditCards.com found that debit cards are preferred 3-to-1 over credit cards among consumers 18-29-years-old—a finding that makes sense considering this group’s fear of debt and cautious financial outlook. Cash is gradually being ignored in favor of debit as well. Among the same group, 51% prefer plastic over cash for purchases under $5, compared with 82% of consumers over 65 who use cash for under $5 purchases. (CNBC)

Our social media status update made it clear that the big platforms are spinning out plenty of new stand alone apps to test new features and try to attract young consumers. Now Instagram has introduced yet another. Their new Hyperlapse is an app that speeds up and stabilizes video, creating beautiful, impressive looking shorts that can be shared to Facebook or Instagram. There is already a #hyperlapse tag that users are employing to share their creations. Time will tell if the app is useful and interesting enough to stand on its own. (Fast Company)

“Everybody is trying to hack Instagram.” That’s what Like2Buy’s cofounder says, and they’re finding ways to help retailers turn social media love into real sales. Target and Nordstrom are both using Like2Buy platforms that link photos posted directly to product pages to buy if they are interested. The hope is that the integration will provide a more seamless experience between browsing Instagram and shopping, and give young consumers the “speed and convenience” that they expect in all facets of brand interactions. (Brandchannel

In the wake of the crisis in Ferguson, two Georgia teens have turned to tech to try to make a difference, and invented an app to help prevent police brutality. Five-O is “like Yelp,” and allows users to create incident reports about their interactions with officers, giving them a grade. The app also includes a “Know Your Rights” function to that users can easily look up what rights they have when dealing with the law. The two sisters behind the app had “dabbled” in code before, and are planning on releasing more apps in the future. (NYMag)

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. You search can begin and end with us. (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