Lena Dunham Re-shapes the Meaning of Mainstream

Today's post comes from Ypulse General Manager Jake Katz.

Lena Dunham Re-shapes the Meaning of Mainstream

GirlsIn 2010, The New York Times published an article called “What Is It About 20-Somethings?” This identification of the “emerging adulthood” Millennial phenomenon serves as the creative seed from which HBO’s “Girls” has grown.

“Girls” has sparked as much discussion in the marketing/media community as it has among its viewers. Thematically, the show brings to life many Millennial concepts. In particular, the growing complexities of dating (it’s no coincidence an article titled "The End of Courtship?" ran the same week as “Girls’” premiere). Additionally, the show’s exploration of navigating one’s post-college path to success mirrors much of what our research here at Ypulse shows about how Millennials are realizing their dreams in a post-recession economy.

While much of the discussion around the show has been quick to point out its misses (a lack of diversity in the cast, arguably skin deep analyses of life from Dunham), stepping back and examining it from a few levels higher brings up a more important discussion. The media industry should quickly be decoding what it means for our perceptions, visions, and assumptions of “mainstream America”, that a show set in the most notoriously niche and infamously marketing trapdoor of Williamsburg is as relatable to 20-somethings as the more obvious “The Carrie Diaries.”

The elephant in the room has now been recognized. For every big brand that has learned to assess new ideas, talent, trends, and marketing through a lens of mainstream versus leading edge, could this be the moment we realize the gap between leading edge and mainstream has nearly dissolved? Maybe.

Let’s think about this for a moment. We know this generation of youth…

 
 

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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I like to keep updated about what’s happening in the world, but not out of obligation, to talk [about it with] someone else or for entertainment.” – Female, 25, MA

“Sexts, hugs, and rock ‘n roll.” That’s how BuzzFeed describes DigiTour, an 18-city bus tour bringing some of the most popular teens on social media to meet crowds of their screaming fans around the country this summer. Most of the digital celebrities involved don’t have traditional talent—but that doesn’t seem to matter. In 2014 the tour sold 120,000 tickets for 60 shows, and they are set to double that number this year. DigiTour could be the “clearest sign yet that the entertainment industry’s star-making apparatus is being turned upside down.” (A topic we explored in depth in our hot-off-the presses trend report.) (BuzzFeed)

As if that wasn’t evidence enough that young consumers are not like you…A recent poll on the American Dream revealed that Millennials’ views of success in America are not the same as older generations. Respondents under 30-year-olds were the most likely to say that having a job that paid well was crucial to attaining the American Dream (47%), and placed more importance on luxury items—travel and the latest technology—than other age groups (32%). (CNN Money)

Are you ready for some fireworks? Fourth of July spending is reportedly up, and 64.4% of consumers plan to celebrate the day. When we surveyed 13-32-year-olds about their plans, only 8% said they weren’t planning to celebrate. We also found that spending for Independence Day shows signs of increasing among Millennials and teens. In 2014 they estimated they would spend an average of $70.21—this year that number went up to $85.56. (MediaPost)

Watching and sharing video content is huge part of Millennials and teens’ online activity—and their mobile behavior. According to Ypulse’s February monthly survey, 50% of 13-32-year-olds say they watch videos on their phones once a day or more. So it makes sense that apps focused on viral video content are a growing category. Minute is a startup video app “for the ADD generation.” The platform finds the most viral parts of online video and turns them into short “Vine-like” clips. (TechCrunch)

Inclusion is becoming increasingly important to young consumers, and the Girl Scouts has made their stance on being an inclusive organization clear this week. The group returned a $100,000 donation after being told the money could not be used to support transgendered girls. To make up the funds, they set up an IndieGogo campaign on Monday, and launched a #ForEVERYGirl campaign to get the message out. The crowdfunding page has raised over $300,000 in three days. (Fast Company)

Want to know more about how young consumers will be spending for the holiday? Our 4th of July Infographic Snapshot has been opened to all our readers—you can click through to see a break down of the red, white, blue, and green in our coverage of what Millennials & teens are buying, and doing, for Independence Day this year. 83% of 14-32-year-olds say they are proud to be an American, and they’re planning to celebrate. Happy 4th everyone! 

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