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: “My financial priority is getting a job and getting out of my parents’ house.” –Male, 20, WA

Virtual reality is poised to become an entertainment game-changer—could it revolutionize education as well? Google is pioneering Expeditions, a new “virtual field trip” program that reaches out to schools with lessons that integrate virtual reality viewers. Expensive VR headsets are not necessary since Google Cardboard is used, allowing a very new technology to be brought into classrooms at an early stage. (NYTimes)

Millennials are bringing their financial preferences to wedding planning. A survey from The Knot and PayPal found that 44% of couples wish they could make all their vendor payments via smartphone, and 42% were surprised their vendors did not accept electronic payments. They also want the “I do” day to be money-hassle-free: 70% think automated payments for remaining balances on the wedding day would be helpful. (MarketWatch)

Smartphones present a whole new set of social problems for Millennials—especially when they’re using them while drinking. New app Drunk Mode, targeting college kids, is designed to make phones safe to use while under the influence: select contacts are hidden for 12 hours to prevent dangerous drunk dialing, the “Find My Drunk” feature uses GPS to help users find drunk friends, and there are also tools for hailing safe rides and retracing intoxicated footsteps. (Springwise)

After years of magical, mystical creatures and dystopian horror stories ruling YA shelves, a new wave of novels are making more relatable narratives popular again. According to Scholastic, “realism is on the rise,” and books that feature the problems of real-world teens are the next big thing. Recent examples include 21 PromsHomeroom Diaries, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, which was also turned into a feature film. (Scholastic)

In 2014, designer Rebecca Minkoff opened her stores of the future, featuring digital fitting rooms with large, mirrored touch screen walls that allow visitors to browse the latest collections, runway shows, photos, and other brand content . Almost a year later, those tech dressing rooms are being credited with tripling expected clothing sales. Minkoff says, “Trying something on signifies intent, and the customer may not have been thinking about buying a dress, but they see it suggested on the screen and know to ask for it.” (Digiday)

Quote of the Day: “My biggest financial goal is Financial independence from my parents.” –Female, 22, MA

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