Hoax Fatigue: The (Probably) Pranks Millennials Aren’t Believing This Week

April 1st is just four days away, but on the internet every day is April Fools Day. Pranks and hoaxes have become so widespread that it seems not 24 hours goes by without yet another fake news story, trailer, ad, product, or video going viral only to be debunked. Gawker has even begun running a weekly column, called Antiviral, “in which [they] run down the worst hoaxes, pranks, Photoshops and straight-out lies blowing up on the internet” to keep readers in the loop on what news was real and what was fake. Brands have embraced fooling the public with prankvertising, and it’s becoming unsurprising for a viral video to turn out to be an ad. The more pranks the Millennial public is exposed to, the less effective the approach may be for brands.
 
The trend The Age of Not Believing in our upcoming Lifeline report (which will be released to subscribers March 31) will be examining the way the constant presence of pranks and hoaxes, among other factors, has helped to reshape the way Millennials view the world, and brands. We found that 84% of Millennials have believed something that they saw or read to be true or real, only to find out later that it wasn’t, and that number increases to 94% for those under 18-years-old. Thanks to their skeptic eyes, when an unexpected story spreads the attempts to debunk it begin almost immediately. It is a case of the “brand who cried wolf”— after enough times of being fooled, now campaigns are being questioned even before the truth is revealed. In short, if you want to participate in the prankvertising trend, be prepared: it’s harder than ever to fool Millennials these days.  Here are the marketing stories being accused of fakery as we speak: 


American Beagle Outfitters
This week, American Eagle is under Millennials’ microscopes for their announcement…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “[Animal Crossing Pocket Camp is] free to play, but it's loaded with a lot of content. It's super cute and relaxing.”—Female, 32, IL

PepsiCo needs to think small to compete with indie brands. Their new unit, The Hive, will be “a small entrepreneurial sort of agile group” to foster smaller brands and create new brands based on emerging trends. Unsurprisingly, The Hive is a response to consumers (ahem, Millennials) who are “demanding” healthier products and championing smaller labels. We continue to see big brands adopt startups, and startup thinking, as they navigate today’s competitive landscape. (Fortune)

Millennials and Gen Z are going to “extreme lengths” to share streaming passwords—and major platforms are losing millions. Magid research indicates that 35% of 21-35-year-olds and 42% of those younger than 21 share streaming service passwords, compared to 19% of Gen Xers and 13% of Boomers. One particularly amusing anecdote: the 20-something who uses the HBO Go login of a one-night stand from 2013. Though Netflix and HBO have both said that password sharing isn’t a problem, there’s no denying they are losing out on revenue—Hulu stakeholders estimated a loss of $1.5 billion yearly. (CNBC)

Wikipedia-branded streetwear has sold out. The site teamed up with LA streetwear brand Advisory Board Crystals for a “surprising” collaboration, and the resulting long sleeved tee emblazoned with “Internet Master” and Wikipedia’s puzzle logo was a success. All proceeds from sales were pledged to the Wikipedia Foundation, and the store is planning to restock “to make as large of a contribution as possible.” According to Ypulse Brandoms research, 60% of 13-35-year-olds say logos are back in style. (MashableThe Verge)

Fitbit’s new tracker is about more than just fitness. Though their smartwatch business is growing significantly faster than trackers, the brand “hasn’t given up” on their roots—and their newest model offers a range of features for wellness-focused users. While it, of course, tracks exercise and calorie burning, it also has built-in meditation, sleep tracking, and female health tracking. Since 96% of 18-34-year-olds tell Ypulse that taking care of their mental health is just as important as taking care of physical health, thinking beyond workouts could be a wise move. (Business Insider)

Amazon wants to steal away YouTube creators to bolster their own platform, Twitch. They’re reportedly offering multi-million dollar deals to influencers ranging from Gigi Gorgeous to Will Smith, hoping their large followings will follow them off of YouTube. So far, Twitch has 15 million daily users compared to YouTube’s 1.9 billion but Twitch’s SVP promises “a steady drumbeat of lots of new content.” They’re also reportedly looking to double their ad revenue in the next year, and their foothold on video games like Fortnite is sure to help. (Bloomberg)

Quote of the Day: "I love travel and finding the best deals on airfare. Hopper really helps me do that, in a simple format.”—Female, 22, FL

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