Growing Up In A Fast Food Nation

mcpretendingIn the latest Ypulse Monitor and Ypulse Report (see full summaries in our Research Roundup) we saw the enduring pull of young, hungry students to fast food joints, specifically those of the burger variety. Cheap, reliable and probably just off campus,  our research found nearly all (nine-out-of-10) college students and teens had gone to restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King, or Wendy’s in the past month, at a frequency of about four times a month/once a week. McDonald’s also came up as the #1 option for lunch, dinner, snacking (and increasingly even coffee!) spot for both demos. For all of the reasons stated above (price, reliability location), this trend isn’t a surprising one, but with rates of childhood and teen obesity staying at epidemic levels especially among low-income youth, it does raise some health concerns.

While “Happy Meals” and the like have undergone a healthful makeover as of late (apple “fries” instead of fries, milk instead of soda, etc.) for tweens/concerned parents, and older consumers are targeted with the contradiction in terms that is the “fast food diet,” teens and young adults get lost somewhere in between, lured instead by what’s tasty and cheap, i.e. the dollar menu-type items. While two out of three teens and college students reported going to the potentially healthier, sandwich shop chains like Subway or Quizno’s over the same period of time, the wide range of choices available still include poor picks like Quizno’s Tuna Melt, rated the number one unhealthiest sandwich of 2009. I also recalled a negative responses to the price difference of sandwich shops at the youth-hosted forum on childhood obesity I attended back in September and the “no duh” look students gave when considering the choice between a “$5 Footlong” and the wide variety of cheaper…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“I eat whenever I need to...I don’t follow the conventional breakfast, lunch, dinner setup.”

—Male, 29 VA

Over half of Millennials believe “money can buy happiness.” Fifty-three percent of 22-39-year-olds believe the more money you have, the happier you are, compared to 38% of Americans overall, according to Mintel. The research also shows Millennials are optimists: a little over half are confident in their financial futures, although nearly a third consider paying off credit card bills their greatest financial challenge. Considering the Ypulse financial tracker shows 59% of 18-34-year-olds have debt, we’re not surprised. (MediaPost)

Mickey Mouse Club is coming back for a new generation, and they know just where to find them: social media. Disney announced at Vidcon that the new rendition of the variety show will be released in snackable snippets on social media only. The show will search for future stars with little to no social followings, but big, undiscovered talents, such as choreography and songwriting. Disney is winning out with Millennials and this nostalgic hit should be right on brand; you can see it at the end of August on the Oh My Disney Facebook channel. (THR)

Summer camp costs more than ever before, and some parents are paying big bucks for their children to rough it. Sleepaway camps cost an average of $768 a week, up from $397 in 2005, for often less-than-luxe accommodations. Affluent parents who want their kids to “just be normal” are sending them to camps that can cost $20,000 for basic room and board that “smells a little mildewy,” where kids do their own laundry, clean their rooms, have roommates, and engage in typical camp activities—macaroni art, anyone? (MarketWatch)

Taco Bell has built brand love and a loyal fan following across digital. Their record-breaking giant taco head Snapchat lenswas just the beginning of their successful social marketing strategy, which involves treating each platform differently. The latest example is their YouTube series, Taco Tales, which includes 40 pieces of long-form content catered to their fans. They’ve accrued 10.5 million Facebook fans, 1.85 million Twitter followers, and 60,000 YouTube subscribers with their “wacky,” authentic brand voice in an effort to not just people-please, but to be themselves—which may be why they’re one of young adults’ favorite fast food restaurants.

(The Drum)

More evidence that Millennials still love analog books: They’re the most likely generation to use public libraries, according to a Pew Research Report. More than half of 18-35-year-olds have frequented a public library in the last twelve months, compared to 45% of Gen X, 43% of Boomers, and 36% of Silents. University libraries were specifically not counted, so being college-aged isn’t giving them any advantage, either. The finding goes hand in hand with Ypulse data that shows reading is 13-34-year-olds’ biggest hobby. 

“The wedding trend I have noticed is the white wedding dress being phased out and an array of colors and styles being used.”

—Female, 32, FL

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