The Serious Faux Pas: Reality TV

In today’s segment of our Serious Faux Pas series, we’re looking at how Millennials’ attraction to the irreverent over the self-serious has changed the reality TV landscape.

 

In early April, Bill Simmons’ Sports Guy Q&A segment on Grantland featured the following exchange on reality TV:

 Q: I'm flipping back and forth between the NCAA tournament and MTV's retro marathon of the 1993 San Francisco season of the Real World. Is this really how people acted in the 90's? These people suck. There hasn't been any sex, barely any drinking and all conflicts have been resolved through open discussions. Did everyone in the 90's take themselves this seriously? Did everyone feel they need to take up a cause? Why are they rock climbing so much? Watching this is making me thankful to be in my 20's now and not then. —Pat, Chicago

 SG: And you wonder why everyone from Generation X is so bitter.

The question (and response) highlights a huge shift in the kind of reality TV that young people want to consume. The Real World has been on MTV since 1992 when the series kicked off in New York. That is 21 years of 20-somethings being documented living together while they stop being polite and starting being real— and a lot has changed.

The early seasons of the show, which many consider the first reality series, were full of earnest Xers making impassioned statements about their views on life and social issues. Serious topics like prejudice, AIDS, substance abuse and sexuality were tackled by roommates who were also figuring out how to live together when they came from such different backgrounds. Flash-forward ten years and the show had shifted considerably to focus on hook-ups, heavy partying, and roommate drama that was more likely to stem from people getting on one another’s nerves than judging…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “To get ideas for what to buy others for the holidays, I browsed gift ideas online and thought about what they needed.” -Female, 24, MD

Quiz game Trivia Crack is winning the hearts of Millennials as it soars to the top of App Store charts. The game is gaining popularity around the world, especially on school and college campuses, resulting in 100 million users and a steady 800,000 daily downloads. The set up of the game is basic but addictive: the user spins a colorful wheel and then answers questions from one of six classic quiz categories. Users can challenge friends on Facebook, but what really sets the app apart is that players can submit their own questions to contribute to the game, keeping the question pool “new and relevant.” In Argentina, where Trivia Crack launched, the app is also available as a board game and a TV game show is now airing. (TechCrunch)

Millennials may actually care more for their cars than previously assumed. A new MTV study revealed that of those 18-34-year-olds who drive, 72% said they would rather give up texting for a week than their car, and 80% of Millennials get around most often by car versus other transportation forms. The study does, however, contradict previous findings that indicate Millennials care less about cars than previous generations. Regardless, if automakers, dealers, and ad agencies want to successfully appeal to Millennials, they must do so very thoughtfully: over 80% believe buying or leasing a car should take less time, and 87% say the buying process should be more transparent. (Detroit News)

Smart technology and integrated design in homes are one of the big trends predicted to take off in 2015, and are increasingly important for Millennial consumers, who are adopting it more quickly than previous generations. 57% said smart technology is a good investment, versus only 35% of those 55 and older, and 64% of those under 35 believe that smart technology makes their home safer and enjoyable. For this generation of homeowners, all aspects of the home could get a technological makeover, and unlocking doors or preheating ovens with smartphones could become a “new norm.” (Boston Globe)

Legacy retailers having a hard time taking advantage of social media might want to take notes from Lilly Pulitzer. The brand has embraced social platforms and created campaigns that engage followers while driving e-commerce sales. The “Lilly 5x5” Instagram and Pinterest campaign gets much of the credit for their success. Five days week, a new print designed by Lilly Pulitzer’s in-house artists is released on the brand's social media platforms. This strategy has doubled their Pinterest following and almost quadrupled their number of Instagram followers, while providing the brand with data on what designs resonate most with fans. The brand has taken the most popular prints and used them in stores, and last November created a shoppable catalogue on Instagram using the designs. (Digiday)

Snapchat will soon be filled with more than disappearing selfies. The app announced today that they will offer users original editorial content from media sources like ESPN, CNN, Net Geo, and Vice. The feature, called Discover, allows users to browse video, photo, and written content that publishers have created specifically for the app. The new feature comes at a time when traditional media companies are experimenting with new platforms to reach younger readers. As Snapchat is reportedly thriving, specifically with those under 25, this could be a great opportunity for both publishers as well as brands, who will be able to advertise on the Discover feed. (New York Times)

Exactly how much are Millennials spending every day…and what are they buying? Our tracked data trends have all the stats on that, thanks to our bi-weekly survey of 1000 14-32-year-old Millennials nationwide. Our Silver and Gold subscribers get access to regularly updated charts following average daily spend and items purchased, with spending broken out by age and gender. We do the heavy data lifting for you, and we’re constantly adding new data to our trends. (Ypulse)

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