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: “I like playing and talking about [Animal Crossing] with other people. It's nostalgic for me since I've been playing games from the series from a young age.”—Female, 22, PA

Which brands had the most YouTube subscribers in 2018? In media, Warner Bros. topped the list with 6.4 million subscribers, followed by BBC and ESPN. Apple beat out last year’s winner for tech PlayStation, while Red Bull and Ford remained the reigning champs of food and beverage and automotive, respectively. Finally, Nike was first place in the clothing category for the second year running, with 30,000 more subscribers than their closest competitor, Adidas. (Tubefilter)

A “Little League for esports” is fostering future esports stars—and fans for life. Super League Gaming is bringing some much-needed organization to youth competitive gaming, building teams of young Minecraft, League of Legends, and Clash Royal players, helping them train and compete. But the program isn’t just for the next Ninja; just like traditional sports, kids get a sense of community among like-minded friends. (AP News)

Nielsen reports that Millennials actually consume less media than older demos, but more of it is digital. While the average adult consumes over ten hours of content a day, 18-34-year-olds spend less than eight hours with media. And the heaviest smartphone users are 35-49-year-olds, who spend 20 minutes more each day on average with their phones than Millennials. However, the younger demo does spend 44% of their media time with digital devices, more than older demos that spend more time with TV as they age up. (THR)

Vitaminwater is wagering $100,000 that you can’t give up your smartphone for a year. Contestants have to disconnect from internet-enabled devices where “texting is a pleasant experience” for 365 days and post a pic to Twitter or Instagram explaining why they need the digital detox. And when the year’s up, they have to prove it. Considering that 65% of 13-36-year-olds told Ypulse they would be unable to unplug from their smartphones for a week, earning that $100,000 may be harder than they know. (Fortune)

Hard seltzer revenue skyrocketed over 400% over the past 18 months. White Claw leads the way for the category with top-of-the-results organic search (they’re the number one Google result for “hard seltzer”) and a social media presence that focuses on health and wellness-related imagery. Sparkling water is already one of Millennials’ favorite things to drink, and its hard version could rise through the ranks of their top alcoholic beverages. (Gartner)

Quote of the Day: “People call [video game culture] nerdy but I see nerdy as a positive connotation.”—Female, 28, MA

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