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 use cloth diapers, and a lot of my coworkers don't quite understand this. They aren't condescending, per say, but I do think that they judge my less mainstream parenting style. Also, several of my online mommy Facebook groups can be VERY judgy.” –Female, 26, IL

‘90s kids (older Millennials) remember many products from the decade that have now sadly passed out of their lives. But some of their undying nostalgia is being rewarded: Coca Cola has brought back their lemon lime flavored soda Surge thanks in part to a Facebook group called “The Surge Movement.” The soda is being sold exclusively through Amazon, and the first batch sold out in about an hour. (The Verge)

GIFs are invading marketing, and the medium is now seeping into mobile communication. Popkey is essentially a GIF keyboard for the new Apple operating system. The app allows users to search for appropriate reaction GIFs without leaving their chats, save frequently used GIFs, or select from popular featured files. The tool could appeal to young consumers who are more interested in communicating via images than text. (TechCrunch)

Millennials’ reputation for not caring about cars might not be the whole story, and we’ve heard that having a car actually is important to them—if brands can create cars they want. Toyota is imagining what that car would look like with their concept the U^2, a “city car” for Millennials, or in their words, the “entrepreneurial, urban driver.” The imagined car is customizable, with a removable front seat, an iPad central console, and a tailgate that can turn into a ramp. Though Toyota isn’t likely to produce the U^2, it is possible that some of its features will be integrated into upcoming models. (Wired)

Despite the fact that the platform is technically ad-free, brands have infiltrated Vine, and its “Vine famous” stars now regularly team with companies for creative advertising. The young social media savvy players—each with millions of followers—are also becoming involved in more traditional media: Brittany Furlan has landed a sketch comedy show deal, Nash Grier is working on a film career, and Shawn Mendes’ record topped the iTunes charts. (Adweek)

Financial services are not appealing to Millennials, and the disconnect between the industry and the generation isn’t likely to be solved by reaching out to these young consumers on the platforms they frequent. A recent global study found that less than 1% of Millennials want financial service providers to contact them through social media, and 59% believe they haven’t seen financial products that are targeted at “people like them.” (CNN)

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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