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

Quote of the Day: “Time I could be sleeping is time I spend on social media. It's now part of my waking up and going to sleep routine and, for those reasons, I'm feeling done with social media."—Male, 24, CA

MasterCard created an audio-only logo for Generation Voice Activated. The finance brand has debuted a sound they’ll play when people check out using their MasterCard. YPulse data shows that 29% of 18-36-year-olds own a smart speaker device, and that number is only expected to grow along with the use of other audio-activated devices. MasterCard wants to make their brand memorable without visual cues to tap into the $40 billion in revenue voice shopping is expected to generate by 2022. (Fast Company)

Brands are acting uncannily human on Twitter—is it working? Many brands (mainly the food and beverage kind) are “behav[ing] like real people with idiosyncratic personalities” on social media to connect with young consumers. This allows them to “stand out it in a crowded marketplace," explains one marketing professor. And Twitter users are engaging: from Sunny D to Steak-umm, brands are going viral for nihilist, and even depressing, first-person posts. (Vice)

Millennials are buying more greeting cards this Valentine’s Day. The National Retail Federation estimates the industry made as much as $933 million yesterday, compared to $894 million last year. Experts say that Millennials are behind the boost as they buy more expensive, albeit fewer, cards that often have personalized flourishes and functions (like audio). They’re also opting for IRL cards over e-cards because, as one enthusiast explains, "I like giving cards because you can hold it, unlike a text or email.” (NPR)

Brands went beyond romantic messaging for Valentine’s Day this year. Some catered to Millennials’ Treat Yo’Self mentality with collaborations like Tinder and Homesick’s “Single, Not Sorry” candle, while others celebrated Galentine’s Day. Target stocked themed decorations for those hosting girls-only get-togethers and Kay Jewelers set aside a site category for Galentine’s Day gifts. Finally, the NRF estimates that pet owners spent $886 million on their furry friends on Valentine’s Day, and retailers like PetSmart advertised accordingly. (ContentStandard)

More college grads are taking on retail jobs as stores up the ante for new hires. Yes, the trend is fueled by student debt and other financial factors, but also because stores that focus on experience expect more than ever from their customer service reps. Workers at Sweaty Betty, Everlane, and Warby Parker are reportedly trained with workshops, tests, and homework. But while, as one expert explains, “Customers are also coming in with much higher expectations of what level of service they’re going to receive,” retail wages aren’t keeping pace. (Refinery29)

Quote of the Day: “The best thing about social media is to connect with people across geographical boundaries and cultures. I love interacting with people that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”—Female, 22, PA

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