Why Catfish Matters

Season two of MTV docu-series Catfish: The TV Show debuted to 2.5 million viewers, and was the number one cable telecast of the day among viewers ages 12-34, a demo otherwise known as Millennials. The show is a hit, and signifies larger shifts in reality TV tastes and their entertainment desires. Here are some of the reasons that Catfish matters, and what it says about Millennial viewers.

 It puts the real back into reality.

It might seem ironic that realness is so big a part of a show about people who are on TV for telling lies, but one reason that Catfish matters is that it is telling the truth about real lives of real people. We talk a lot about authenticity and Millennials’ desire to know all the facts and be told the truth. Though reality TV has a genre name that implies it is all real all the time, Millennial viewers have gotten used to the fact that reality shows are staged, and that “unscripted” programs most likely have a staff of writers working behind the scenes. Catfish shows a shift in the genre, and a re-emphasis on the showcasing of real lives, real emotions, and real moments. If it ever came out that elements of Catfish were faked, there is a good chance that it would seriously damage or even end the show. Actual reality in this case is a vital part of what makes the show successful. Millennials want real, and Catfish serves it up in a way that few shows aimed at them in the past have done.

 It is anti-aspiration.

There are no makeovers here, and most likely not even a happy ending for the young people who participate. Watching Catfish is not about wanting what you see. When hosts Nev and Max pull up to the house of the catfish, they are usually visiting humble places, in small towns. The young people on the show are often unhappy with where they are and who…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I can’t live without my smartphone. It's my navigation system, entertainment, knowledge device, and many other things.” –Female, 25, IL

Blue and black, or white and gold? Never has such a simple question gone so viral. If you haven’t yet heard of #TheDress, a picture of the controversial frock was posted on Tumblr yesterday afternoon by a user who wanted others to weigh in on what colors it is. Since then, it has caused the internet to go up in flames, and millions have passionately banded behind one of two sides, some see blue and black while some see white and gold. In less than 12 hours, the BuzzFeed article asking “What Colors Are This Dress?” received 25 million views. As we’ve said before, young social media users are culture creators, their collective social power can make the mundane into a trend—they’re certainly doing that and more with The Dress. (New York TimesWired)

The Millennial nostalgia series reboots don’t stop coming: Netflix is now bringing back Inspector Gadget and Danger Mouse. The site will be streaming five new kids’ shows in an effort to reach more young viewers, and the inclusion of these already-loved characters could potentially please their parents as well. Inspector Gadget, which originally aired from 1983 to 1986 and got a movie in 1999, will have 26 new computer animated episodes premiering exclusively on Netflix in March. Netflix has already announced reboots of Magic School BusCare Bears, and Popples, and hopes that the nostalgic content will lead to “co-viewing” and garner them fans from multiple generations. (Stream DailyUSA Today)

Shake Shack is amassing Millennial fans. The beloved New York-based fast casual burger establishment already epitomizes much of what young consumers are looking for in dining—fast casual, a modern look, friendly staff, and natural ingredients—and it’s gaining even more of a following thanks to a very strong social media game. Above having creative and well done ‘foodtography,’ the brand is constantly engaging with followers, reposting content, responding to their comments, and running contests like “Burger Beats,” which invites musicians to submit their music for a chance to have it played at Shake Shack locations around the world. (Digiday)

Telltale Games, the studio that created the popular The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones video games, has its own series in the making. Telltale is known for their TV-like “episodic” game design, and their first foray into original content will reportedly be a “super show,” described as a video game, TV show hybrid. Each episode will include a scripted portion as well as an interactive piece that is integrated with the show’s narrative. Telltale’s CEO calls the project "a very natural evolution of the interactive storytelling expertise we've pioneered." This unique style of entertainment could be on the rise, and film company Lionsgate has made “a significant investment” in the studio. (The Verge)

Target’s had somewhat of a tough 2015 so far, between backlash for body shaming and closing its Canadian stores, and they’re making some proactive moves to increase their appeal to young consumers. The chain will be upping spending on digital marketing efforts, and is “getting ready to reinvent its food offerings.” Food, health, and social responsibility remain important to younger consumers, so emphasizing efforts to expand their natural and organic products is likely a smart move. Target is also adding more brands that appeal to Millennials to their Made to Matter collection, including Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, KIND, and Ben & Jerry’s. (MediaPost)

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)

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