I’ll Be Watching You: Plurals’ Hyper-Monitored Childhoods

Plurals, often the children of Millennials, are being watched at almost all times from the day they are born, with tech acting as a second set of eyes for vigilant parents. We’ve spoken in the past about the ways that Millennial parents could change families, from bringing the baby to the biergarten to relying on lifehacks and tech to help them navigate parenthood. Now we’re seeing a new implication to this tech/parenting integration. Hyper-monitored childhoods are becoming the norm, moving beyond the generically over-protected upbringings of many Millennials, and making growing up a tech-supervised, increasingly quantified experience.

 

Baby monitors have been around for years in audio form. But today, video monitoring systems have become the norm on baby shower registries, and cameras have become as common a fixture above cribs as mobiles. Nightvision has moved from spy ware to parenting tool, with cameras that can see in the dark to make sure all is well in the nursery after children have been put to bed. Systems like iBaby Moniter send a video feed of baby straight to mom and dads’ smartphone—letting them not just watch, but also talk to their child from wherever they are. iBaby offers multiple monitors, and a two finger swipe on the accompanying app allows users to quickly change views between cameras throughout the house. Once children have graduated from the crib, whole house monitors are available, streaming feeds of every room to laptops and mobile devices. Though currently less common, it is not too hard to imagine that Millennial parents used to seeing their child’s every move might want to continue to watch as they grow up, even outside the house. Systems like WatchMeGrow put cameras into the classroom, equipping childcare centers with video monitoring systems…

 
 

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“I want to work for myself so that I can have more flexibility and be my own boss. I have an online business.”
—Female, 16, FL

Fast fashion is only getting faster as Asos & Boohoo outpace industry front-runners, Zara and H&M, moving clothes from concept to sales floor in less than four weeks. These up and comers’ fast paced supply chains, coupled with millennial-minded tactics and strong social media presences, are driving a 30-35% expected sales growth for Asos and 50% for Boohoo. A major contributor to Boohoo’s profit margin is its army of celebrities, bloggers, and other influencers who promote its clothing across Instagram. Zara and H&M, meanwhile, saw slowing YOY sales growth; H&M has admitted its need to speed up and announced plans to change its supply chain accordingly. (QuartzThe Guardian)

A new Doritos bag will be loaded with the entire Guardians of the Galaxy 2 soundtrack, via a built-in cassette player. A limited number of the “Awesome Mix” soundtrack bags will be available on Amazon tomorrow, and influencers will be activated to take the bag to surprising locales and sing a song of their choice. Fans will also be invited to go to custom pop-up recording booths, record their track, and upload it to social media for a chance to win prizes. Thanks to social media posts and unboxing trends, packaging has the potential to become a spotlight stealer, and brands are thinking outside the box to make packaging as interesting as the product. (Creativity)

Apple wants to be Gen Z’s Starbucks. The brand is reimagining stores to encourage teen hang out sessions, rebranding the Genius Bar as the Genius Grove, and aptly adding some foliage to the space. The start of a series of educational sessions next month will also bring in photographers, artists, and musicians to teach lessons and in some cases, perform concerts. Apple’s head of retail says of the effort: “I’ll know we’ve done a really, really great job if the next generation, if Gen Z says, ‘Meet me at Apple. Did you see what’s going on at Apple today?’” Ypulse’s Experiencification trend explored the fact that more retailers are looking to turn stores into social spaces to attract young shoppers. (QuartzApple)

Coachella has become a profit powerhouse, with earnings of $94 million last year, and nearly half of all attendees are 18-34-years-old. Brands have been looking for any way to activate their spending power through the event—including influencer marketing, which reportedly earns an estimated $6.50 for every $1 spent. This year, American Express became the first official credit card of the prodigious festival, using influencers to spread their message on-site instead of signage and “overt product messaging.” One AMEX executive emphasizes, “You can’t deny the power and reach of influencers today.”(Forbes)

Mars’ new ad has gone viral with Gen Z, thanks to the power of online celebrities. The video, promoting popular U.K. candy bar Maltesers as it launches in the U.S, features social media and YouTube stars Caspar Lee, Andrew Huang, and Dytto and has earned almost 2.8 million views in the last few weeks. The campaign encourages positivity in the face of typical “teen crises” as the influencers are shown turning #FML moments into “Fun Maltesers Life” moments. The spot is part of a larger effort, which will include distribution across social media channels, custom content creation with BuzzFeed, and a tour featuring an experiential photo-op, game play zone, and 10 million free samples. (MediaPost)

Quote of the Day: “I don't drink on a typical night, but my choice when I do have a drink is often red wine.”

—Female, 34, FL

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