Dispatches From The Tween And Gen Y Panels At The Millennial Mega Mashup

What better way to learn about youth at the Millennial Mega Mashup than by meeting members of this generation? Through the Smarty Pants’ annual tween panel and Ypulse’s annual Meet the Millennials Live Discussion we learned about what 8-27 year olds are interested in, their habits, what brands they love, and where they think companies can improve…

Insights From The Smarty Pants Tween Panel

Meet The Tweens

Kaitlyn, age 10 and in 4th grade, loves the brand Justice because of the cool clothes they sell and the journals she can write in; Lego friends because she can make buildings and it’s like an adventure; Barbie because she can play with them like they’re real people; Hello Kitty because she’s cute, and her iPod because she can go to YouTube, play games, and look up homework definitions. Her room is a mixture of Bella Thorne and Hello Kitty.

Savannah, age 10 and in 4th grade, loves Monster High because they’re different than other dolls and have cool accessories and clothes. She has a collection of stuffed animals, including a monkey, Miss Piggy, a pillow pet, and Angry Birds. She likes playing sports, including softball with her grandpa, and likes to play outside. She’s in Girl Scouts with her friends, including Kaitlyn, and likes it because it combines community service and fun activities.

Fernando, age 9 and in 3rd grade, likes to play with monster trucks. He’s played baseball, soccer, and basketball since he was younger. He has a flat screen TV in his room to watch movies and likes listening to music. He likes paintball — it’s fun even though it hurts sometimes. His favorite brands are Adidas and Nike because they’re colorful and comfortable. He likes the WWE and The Rock is his favorite celebrity.

Mia, age 9 and in 3rd grade, has decorated her own room with lamps and a…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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