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: “It's free to walk to work and I get some exercise in.”—Female, 26, NY

Niche beauty brands have blurred gender lines at their core—can large cosmetics companies play catch up without seeming “disingenuous”? Milk Makeup and Fluide have built their brands on being inclusive, but larger brands sometimes strike consumers as hopping on the band wagon when they try to do the same—especially since they created so many of the gender norms they’re now rallying against. The best way for them to get in on the trend? Start by making their hiring process more inclusive both “behind the lens” and in front of it. (Fast Company)

Starbucks thinks the “health and wellness” trend is to blame for declining Frappuccino sales. Despite marketing efforts like the Unicorn Frappuccino, syrupy drink sales are down 3% from last year. However, rivals like McDonald’s and Dunkin' Donuts could be stealing sugary beverage sales from the coffee giant, meaning young consumers’ penchant for healthification isn't necessarily the culprit. In fact, McDonalds recently debuted two new frozen drinks that earning praising on Twitter. (NYPFox News)

Apple is getting into kids’ content, teaming up with Sesame Workshop for a slate of original shows. Live-action, animated, and puppet-based series will be included in the programming, but Sesame Street itself is not part of the deal. There are no details yet on where Apple will release the shows, meaning they could either shop them to another platform or debut them on their own streaming platform. Considering that Apple has several original program deals in the works, they could be looking to bulk up their own bid in the streaming wars. (Kidscreen)

Twitter and Tumblr posts are getting a new lease on life—as screenshots on Instagram. While young users of Twitter and Tumblr have declined, Ypulse’s Social Media Trackerfound that over half of 13-35-year-olds use Instagram daily. Instagram is the preferred place to post memes, despite many accounts creating their content elsewhere. Why do they switch platforms to post? Instagram’s Discover tab allows faster browsing than Twitter, while Instagram images are displayed in full rather than being cut off, like they are on Twitter. (The Verge)

Eggo sales are down in between seasons of Stranger Things. Yes, the sci-fi series has that much influence on the frozen waffle’s revenue. One Eggo executive explains that they “quickly leveraged the [resulting] consumer engagement” from the show, and it paid off: sales jumped 14% in the fourth quarter of 2017 and 9.4% for the first four months of 2018. However, fewer people are binging the Gen Z & Millennial favorite these days, so Kellogg’s frozen pancakes, waffles, and French toast sales have slowed to just 1.3% year-over-year. (CNN)

Quote of the Day: “I fell in love with trance music.”—Male, 23, NY

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