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: “I won’t buy an already-made costume to dress up in for Halloween because everyone will have those and I don't like having what everyone else has.” –Female, 27, FL

The future of the on-demand economy is shaping up, and soon anything you might need or want, from toothpaste to kittens, could be delivered to you in a snap. Grocery delivery app Instacart tapped into this “I want it now” mentality for some smart Halloween marketing: Seattle residents can use the app to order last-minute costumes that arrive in one hour. The startup conceived the campaign after receiving costume requests from many of their customers, and the service will be active until 8pm tonight. (Instacart)

Last week, we wrote that brands could learn some marketing tricks from Taylor Swift, and her social media skills continue to impress. Vulture has a break down of why Swift is the “reigning queen of celebrity social media,” where she acts like her fans’ best friend, interacts with them personally, and uses each platform the way they do. On Monday, she used Twitter to put those fans in the spotlight, reposting pictures of them posing with her new album on her own feed with the hashtag #taylurking, a reference to the fact that she was lurking on her followers’ profiles. (Vulture)

Older Millennials grew up with the internet, which means they remember its humble design beginnings, and how social media got its start—after all, they were at the center of it. The internet has come a long way in a relatively short time, but there is a growing nostalgia for Web 1.0, the good old days when “everything was smaller,” “close-knit,” and “DIY.” This nostalgia is fueling the design of some of the newest apps and networks, which emphasize intimacy, self-expression, and minimalism. (Gizmodo)

Young consumers have a different set of retail experience expectations, and while many till prefer in-store, there is no doubt that mobile and online are a very big part of their shopping behavior. So what are their digital retail tastes and habits? 55% use multiple devices to shop, and 71% of females do their online shopping at home versus the 77% of males who do it on-the-go. Their biggest frustrations include slow load times, slow checkout, lack of interactive features, and small/fuzzy images. Those images are important—55% overall, and 72% of females, say they “couldn’t live without pictures when shopping on mobile devices.” (Inc.)

Richie Rich is being rebooted for a new generation. A live-action Richie Rich show from AwesomenessTV is coming to Netflix in 2015. The story of the self-made child millionaire was first a comic book in the 1950s, then reinvented for ‘90s kids in the movie starring Macaulay Caulkin. In this modernized iteration, Richie is a trillionaire who earned his bucks inventing and selling green technology. (KidscreenMashable)

You've got questions, we've got answers. Silver and Gold subscribers have access to Ypulse's trend and Millennial experts for quick, personalized feedback on any topic. After each insights article on Ypulse.com, subscribers can submit questions and requests directly to our experts and receive instant responses. Whether they want to dig more deeply into a topic or better understand the implications for their brands, we're there to help. (Ypulse)

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