Flash Robs: Teens Organize Negative Actions On Social Media

Today’s post comes from Ypulse’s Research Intern Phil Savarese.

Flash Robs: Teens Organize Negative Actions On Social Media

Millennials always want to be a part of something much bigger than themselves and the popularity of flash mobs is evidence to that. Social media makes it easier to orchestrate large events out of thin air and being part of a large group takes away the fear of being self-conscious to cut loose. A recent Lifeline quote stated: “Flash mobs are a big trend because it's easier to be crazy in a large group with a small amount of anonymity.” (Female, 25, FL).

But with the popularity and mass appeal of flash mobs, a sub-culture has emerged. Flash robs are a mischievous and dangerous type of flash mob, where participants (usually teens) gather at retail stores among other places and rush inside. Once there, they proceed to grab as much as they can and leave as quickly as possible. In and out.

Over the past few years, flash robs have become more common. Store owners are worried for the safety of both their customers and their stores profits. CBS New York reported on a wave of flash robs that have targeted various newsstands and convenience stores. One shop owner has been targeted a total seven times. In recent attacks, an employee was struck with a bottle and hospitalized while another left a customer with a broken arm. 

In 2011, the robberies got the attention of Washington state legislators. The Wall Street Journal reported that Senator Mike Carroll proposed a law that will classify a flash rob as organized retail theft (a felony) if nine or more individuals planned the crime using electronic messages and collectively steal $250 (previously $750) or more. Other legislators are worried that the decrease in the minimum amount stolen will cause the…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“Art is basically my job and I enjoy it so much.”—Female, 15, MD

Snap is making its “biggest move” in scripted original content, teaming up with NBCUniversal and the Duplass brothers for their next series. The Duplass-owned creative studio Donut will produce original series for Snap shot in vertical video. NBCU and Snap will also be opening a joint digital content studio focused completely on mobile-first entertainment, “formaliz[ing] their partnership” and putting Snap firmly in the producing/original content creation camp. Snap’s mobile-only approach is part of a movement to shake up how we view videos—in fact, they’re calling their offering “a fundamentally new medium.” (THRTechCrunch)

Eggo frozen waffles are capitalizing on their unexpected Stranger Things’ fame. The brand has seized the marketing opportunity of being a part of one of Millennials & Gen Z’s favorite shows, tying themselves into Netflix’s Super Bowl ad, creating a special toaster for select fans, and swarming New York Comic Con with people dressed up like Eleven armed with “watch party kits” (aka “waffles and a microwavable syrup server”). To prep for the premiere of season two of the show, Eggo is sending out a fully-loaded food truck for the red carpet premiere, and going all out on social media to connect with fans. (MediaPost)

More teens than ever have severe anxiety, but why? The American College Health Association found a 12% increase in undergrads reporting “overwhelming anxiety” from 2011 to 2016, and several studies concur that “there’s just been a steady increase of severely anxious students.” Social media is part of the problem—constant like-monitoring and cyber bullying isn’t helping the most stressed generation to date. There’s also an increasing (and constant) perceived need to over-achieve. One psychology professor observes, “There’s always one more activity, one more A.P. class, one more thing to do in order to get into a top college.” (NYTimes)

Ypulse research has shown that 88% of Millennial parents are trying to avoid helicopter parenting—but they might not be able to help it. The constant media storm of global atrocities and everyday stories of parenting gone wrong combined with advertisers’ willingness to fear-monger, results in a generation of (understandably) anxious parents. It doesn’t help that the tech to constantly monitor kids is easily available (albeit pricey)—from drone surveillance meant for the military to devices that track “blood-oxygen levels all night long.” One relationship therapist sums up, “Everyone is having a hard time drawing a line and just figuring out what’s reasonable versus what’s over-protective.” (Refinery29)

Brands are turning college students into mini-sales forces. Aerie, Victoria’s Secret Pink, and Express are just a few of the many brands that have a program for college campus reps where students receive swag, experience, and other perks for helping bring brand awareness to their colleges. Though brands don’t always require social posts, most ambassadors do share their swag on social, bringing organic ads to their friends’ feeds. The biggest draw is that social posts from reps “[come] across as natural, authentic, a product that they would normally use or want to talk about.” (Racked)

“[Celebrity] can mean anything nowadays and it's a rather diluted term; from YouTube star, to someone on Instagram with millions of followers, to reality TV dopes, etc.”—Male, 30, WI

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